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[ 000 ] 


-Translations by Hamish & Nao Takahashi 

- Production, Edition and design by Ichido Reichan 

- Quality control and corrections by Tetris Battle 

- Project financed by the members of The Wild 
Fang Project. 

- Originally written by Yumemakura Baku and 
published by Futabasha publishing Japan. Cover 
and illustrations by Itagaki Keisuke All rights 
reserved to the original owners. This is a fan 
translation project to merely promote and comment 
about the works of Yumemakura Baku to English 
speakers and fans of the series. If you kindly want 
this project to succeed , contact for suggestions or 


[ 001 ] 









[ 007 ] 


Even in a crowd he somehow stood out. It wasn’t 
the way he was dressed, nor were his looks 

anything more than average. In fact it was more the 
opposite. His nose was flat and his lips were thick. 
His shoulders, eyes and frame were also over¬ 
sized. Although you wouldn’t go so far as to call 
him ugly. He certainly wasn’t charming, but his 
features were well balanced, in their own way. At 
a glance, he seemed like the kind of guy you could 
see anywhere. If there was a group of people 
coming towards you, your line of sight would stop 
when it hit him, just for a moment, before he 
walked straight past you. That was the kind of way 

he stood out. 

He was big. Quite tall. About half a head taller 
than the rest of the crowd. He looked to be around 
six foot, but just because someone is six feet tall 
doesn't mean that they catch people’s eyes the way 
he did. It wasn’t his height or his frame that caught 
the attention of so many other people. No, it was 
because he had an air of mystery about him. It was 

that mysteriousness that made people notice him 

He was wearing a cotton shirt over a pair of comfy 
cotton slacks. His shirt was ofif-white and over 
washed to the point of fading. An open leather 
jacket hung from his shoulders over his shirt. His 
clothes were a little too big. It looked as though he 
chose the kind of clothing that wouldn’t constrict 

his body. 

[ 008 ] 

Everything he was wearing was a little dirty. It's 
not that the clothes he wore were dirty in places, 
but more they had been stained with the filth of his 


He looked beat up and worn out, but strangely it 
suited him. It was probably because of the way he 
held himself. The feeling he gave off didn’t come 
from his clothing, but rather from inside. The 
warmth of his body, his smell ... the tell-tale signs 
of a human pushed through his clothing and hung in 

the air. 

He looked as though he was taking a casual stroll, 

but he hadn’t let his guard down. He looked older 
than 30, but just how much older was difficult to 
tell. He would have been around 35 or 36, but he 

moved his body like someone in their 20’s. 

The month of March. The place; the Kasuga Grand 
Shrine in Nara, halfway down the path towards the 
shrine archway. That pathways inside Nara Park 
were overflowing. There were a lot of young 
people there as high schools and universities were 
out for summer. Groups of senior citizens, 
probably from a tour bus, were wandering towards 
him. There were even foreigners with cameras 
hanging from their necks. There were a lot of 
young people wearing jeans. Unlike in the 
wintertime, everyone was dressed in bright, 

colorful clothing. 

Peppermint green, yellow, orange, blue, pink ... all 
kinds of colors walking about. The afternoon sun 
poured over the land and fingers of light poked 

through the tree tops. Just before the entrance of the 
archway, there was a single storied structure made 
from raw wood with a gabled roof made from 
cypress bark, a stable, on the right hand side. The 
shadows that fell on the wood from the treetops 
above rippled with the breeze. The wind was 

refreshing, not piercingly cold. 


All the smells that had hung in the air since he 
arrived started to melt into the wind. The smell of 
deer and exhaust gas had followed him all day, but 
now there was also the subtle smell of grass that 
the wind had carried in from Mt. Wakakusa. He 
passed through the archway, which was lined with 
various stone lanterns on either side. Most of them 
were for people to pay their respects, and it was 

said there are around 1760 of them. 

He could make out muffled voices in the distance. 

The voices were getting closer. It seemed as if 
someone was being chased. 

“Get back here!” 

“You little shit!” 

The voices got louder. The crowd in front of him 
split open. From there a young man wearing jeans 
came running towards him. The young man was 
pushing people out his was with his hands and 
elbows as he turned and looked behind him. It 
seems that he was trying to get a look at the people 
chasing him. The young man was still fairly young 
and didn’t slow down, not even when he turned to 
look behind him. The young man ran straight into 
him, as he had stopped walking, and fell back 


The young man let out a cry and turned his attention 

to the one had run into. The young man's fine 
features looked shocked as he looked up towards 
the man's jack-knife smile. The young man looked 
about 17 years old. He had shoulder length hair 
and was wearing what looked like a jacket. Their 
met eyes for only a second. The young man got 
straight back up and again started to run. There 
were three men chasing him. 

[ 010 ] 

“He's a pick-pocket!” one of them yelled out. The 
young man was at a disadvantage. The crowd he 
was trying to push through was his main obstacle. 
The men chasing him ran though the path he had 
carved in the crowd. After about 10 meters or so, 
they finally caught the young man. People in the 
crowd slowed him down once the men chasing him 
called out that he was a pickpocket. Out of 
nowhere the young man gets a smack. One of the 
men whipped off his jacket as the young man fell to 

the ground. 

“What the hell are you doing?” the young man said. 

“You're going to give that money back!” 

“What money?” 

“Don't play dumb with me, I'm talking about the 
money you took back there,” the man said, hitting 
the young man again. The man's face was turning 
red. He was certainly angry, but that probably 
wasn’t the only reason his face was turning red. He 
had been drinking as well. The three men didn’t 
look all that respectable themselves. The man who 
hit the young man was wearing sunglasses. They 
seemed like the kind of thugs you would find 

roaming the streets at night. 

“I don't know anything about your money,” the 
young man said, propping himself up off the ground 
with his right hand. The young man then glared up 
at the three men, a line of blood forming 

downwards from the corner of his mouth. He 
clenched his left hand into a fist and wiped the 
blood from his face. He looked down at the blood 
on his fist and then turned his glare back to the 
three men. He pulled in his sneaker clad feet and 

propped himself up. 

“You son of a bitch!” the man with sunglasses 
yelled as he moved forward to kick the young man 
with the tip of his foot. The young man jerked his 
body backwards to fry and dodge the blow, and the 
man’s foot sailed narrowly past his chin. 


“Ah!” the man in sunglasses yelped, his kick to thin 
air causing him to stumble forwards. The young 
man used his knees to push himself up into a 

standing position and spat crimson to the ground. 

“That was close,” the young man said, a knife-like 
smile forming on his lips. It was a wry grin of 
defiance. A number of the pedestrians has stopped 
walking and had been watching from a distance, 
waiting to see how the situation would play out. 

“Hand over the money, kid,” said the tallest of the 
three men as he stepped in front of the young man. 
He had a deep and calm voice. 

“I said I don't know what you're talking about,” 
said the young man as he took a slight step 

“Look kid, I saw you take that money and run.” 

“Superb eyesight you've got there.” 

“You're not funny, kid,” the tall man muttered. His 
eyes were narrow and his tone was eerily calm. 

His movements flowed like water as he shuffled 
his body forward. The young man turned to flee but 

the tall man was too fast. It was the kind of speed 
that could only be achieved through training. The 
tall man threw his left fist at the young man's nose. 
The young man pulled his head back and dodged 
the attack, readying himself with boxing stance. He 
bent his arms at his elbows and brought them up to 
either side of his face to protect his head. The tall 
man, as if reading his movements, let his right fist 
fly towards the young man. 

[ 012 ] 

The tall man's fist came up from below to form an 
uppercut. The young man, his arms still on either 
side of his face, flung his head backwards to dodge 
the blow. His shoulders, arms and back followed 
suit and the young man fell backwards. The tall 
man came in from the side with a kick towards the 
young man’s head. The young man didn’t try to 
dodge; he did the opposite and lunged towards the 
tall man’s leg. The two of them were soon in full 

contact, the young man using both of his arms to 
latch on to the tall man’s right leg. Because he had 
been weighed down, the force of his attack was cut 
by half. The tall man's punches were polished, but 
his kicks were rusty. 

The young man stood up, still holding on to the the 
tall man’s leg. The tall man threw another punch at 
the young man as he became unbalanced. It hit him 
on the nose, but because he had lost his balance, it 
didn’t do much damage. The young man then curled 
his right leg around the tall man’s right leg and 
jerked it upwards, causing him to fall tot he 
ground. It was just then that the two remaining men 
came at the young man with an attack. 

The young man clung to the side of one of the men. 
The man with sunglasses sunk his knee into the 
young man's stomach. The young man groaned as 
he doubled over. That was when two police 
officers came running over. It wasn't clear whether 
someone had reported a disturbance of if they had 

spotted the fight while on patrol. 

“That's enough!” 

“What’s going on here?,” the police officers 
shouted as the ran over to stop the violence. 

“Fighting are we?” one of the officers said, turning 
their attention to the young man and the three men 
who had finally been split up. 


“No! This kid stole some money from us,” the man 
wearing sunglasses said. 

“Money?” the guard asked. 

“Yeah, money. The kid’s a pick-pocket” 

“Is that true?” the officer asked, turning to face the 
young man. The young man shook his head. 

“I don’t know what they're talking about, I haven’t 
stolen any money” said the young man. The sudden 
change in his demeanor was amazing. His defiant 
expression as gone, replaced with a look of fear in 
his eyes. 

“Well, then why were you running?” 

“Because these guys were yelling and started 
chasing me. Anyone would run, these guys look 
like gang members.” 

“You little shit!” 

“Watch it!” the police officer snapped. 

The young man moved away as if trying to hide in 
the policeman’s shadow. Blood started to trickle 
down from his nose. 

“I saw the boy take the money with my own eyes,” 
the tall man said, stepping in front of the guards, 
“go ahead and take a look in his jacket pocket.” 

“And what if we don’t find anything?” 

“Just take a look.” 

When the tall man said that, the young man took of 
his jacket and threw it to the ground. 

“Here, search it yourself.” 

The man wearing sunglasses picked up the jacket 
and scrunched it up in hands. Without putting his 
hands inside the pockets he groped at the jacket, 
grabbing fistfuls of fabric at a time, but was unable 
to find anything. 

“Shit!” he said, flinging the jack to the ground. 

[ 014 ] 

“Hey, that's my jacket!” the young man said before 
picking it backup. 

“What was stolen?” the officer asked. 

“I haven't taken anything,” the young man piped up. 

“My wallet,” the man wearing sunglasses said. 

“I haven’t got your wallet,” the young man said as 
he put his hands in his pocket and pulled them 
inside out. He went to far as to pull his shirt up a 
little over his belt. 

It was then that the man, who had been watching 
the events unfold from within the crowd turned his 
six foot tall body and walked away with the same 
rhythm that he had come with. The young man 
chased him with his eyes as his back disappeared 
into the crowd. 

“You threw it somewhere, didn’t you?!” the man 
wearing sunglasses said. 

“I didn’t throw it anywhere because I didn’t steal it. 
If I had thrown it somewhere, it would be lying on 
the ground around here, wouldn’t it?” 

“You must have given it to someone!” 

“I don’t know what you're talking about.” 

“Fuck you, kid!” 

“Why don’t we take this conversation down to the 
police station?” Said the officer, attempting to 
calm the situation. 

“Police station?” said the man wearing sunglasses. 

“There the two of you will be able to give your 
own sides of the story.” 

“Are you kidding me?” 

“Someone’s just picked my pocket, I don’t have 
time shoot the breeze in a police station.” 


“Be that as it may, I can't just let the two of you...” 
the o flicer started. 

“Did anyone here see what happened?” the other 
officer called out to the crowd, cutting off the first 
officer. He got no answer. 

“Let's go,” said the tallest man, placing his hand on 
the shoulder of the man wearing sunglasses. 


“Yeah. Come on...” 

“But Shimamura!” 

“Let's go!” said the tallest man of the three, 
Shimamura, as he pushed his open palm into his 
friends back. 

“And the wallet?” asked one of the officers. 

“I guess he dropped it after all. We’re going to go 
take a look for it.” Shimamura said, staring 
intensely at the young man. 

“Leave no stone unturned!” said the young man. 
Shimamura gave no response. He just glared at the 
young man for a moment before turning his back on 
him and walking away. 

[ 016 ] 

Part One : The Duel 

Chapter I 

Bunshichi Tanba was walking down a tree-lined 
pathway. It was a trail that broke off from a slightly 
elevated spot on the Old Willow Path inside Nara 
Park. It was narrow. Not the kind of path a lot of 
people came down. Long, dry grass was creeping 
in from either side of the walkway, limp and 
withered. That's where Bunshichi Tanba walked, 
his thick legs taking out dry blades of grass as he 


There was a lot of green grass mixed in with the 
dried grass. There was no mistaking that the 
changing seasons had spread that pale green 
around and would continue to do so until it 
covered everything. The green of speed wheel 
flowers and the yellow of sunflowers could be 
seen in spots that had gotten a lot of sunlight. The 
leaves no longer shed shadows from the treetops 

above. All you could see now were the red, 
pointed sprouts of new life. Compared to the lower 
end of Nara park, here it felt almost as if spring 
was running a little behind schedule. Sunlight fell 
straight through treetops as the leaves had yet to 

properly sprout. 

The trail was a little steep. The sound of dried 
leaves crackling underfoot echoed through the air 
with each step Bunshichi Tanba took. He had broad 
shoulders, and the stray branches leaning in from 
either side jerked back as they hit his body. A soft 
breeze was rustling through the trees. It carried the 

soft smell of dried bark 
[ 017 ] 

Before long the path stopped abruptly in a strange 
clearing in the forest. Long withered grass was 
creeping in from all sides as if this spot had been 
completely forgotten about. The clearing wasn’t all 

that big; it would have been about the same size as 
a tennis court it if were the same shape. There was 
a large cherry blossom tree at the other end of the 
clearing, which seemed out of place. There stood a 
small, five leveled stone pagoda to the right of the 
tree. It was a little taller thanBunshichi. There 
were three more, slightly smaller objects lined up 
next to the pagoda. Bunshichi stopped in his tracks 
and scanned his surroundings. His right hand was 
waiting. He scratched behind his ear with his fat, 

hook-like index finger. 

“Alright” said Bunshichi in a thick, deep voice, 
“It’s time to come out now.” He seemed to be 
calling out to someone behind him Once the words 
had left his mouth, there came the sound of 
footsteps through through the dried grass from 
behind. The sound was getting closer. And then the 
sound stopped. Bunshichi took a few steps away 
before turning around. There was a young man 
standing at the foot of the path. It was the young 
man from before; the pickpocket who had been 

chased by those three men, and who had bumped 
into Bunshichi near the temple archway. He had his 
hands in his pockets and stood with his legs 
slightly apart. The young man turned his head 
towards Bunshichi and looked up at him through is 

shaggy shoulder length hair. 

[ 018 ] 

He had sharp, penetrating eyes. 

“You knew I was there, huh?” the young man 

“What do you want?” Bunshichi asked. The young 
man let out a short whistle and raised his head. 

“Don’t play dumb,” the young man said, striking a 
pose. He was stained red from his nose to his lips. 
He looked like some kind of majestic wild beast. 

Some kind of carnivorous, predatory feline. A 
young panther. That's what he looked like. 

“Play dumb?” 

“I'm talking about the money,” the young man said, 
a razor sharp grin running across his face. 

“Oh, you mean this?” Bunshichi said, pulling a 
small black wallet from his pocket. The young man 
had shoved it into Bunshichi’s pocket when he ran 

into him near the shrine. 

“I’m gonna need that back.” 

“Give it back?” 


“You mean hand it back to that guy with the 


“I mean give it back to me” 

“Back to you, huh?” 

“C’mon man,” the young man started, “I put my life 
on the line stealing that. It's mine now,” he finished 


“Oh really?” 

“There was nearly 300,000 yen in there when I 
looked. I'm gonna need you to give that back.” 

“322,000 yen to be exact.” 

“You looked?” 

“I looked.” 

[ 019 ] 

“Shit...,” the young man said before spitting on the 
grass that lay at his feet, his hands still firmly in his 


“But I thought I was going to get to keep it,” said 

“I risked my neck for that cash. Did you really 
think I was going to just let you walk away with it? 
I was just letting you hold on to it for me. That’s 
why I was following you. Being so big, you are 
easy to find, that's why I had you look after it for 


“Why didn’t you call out to me right away?” 

“Because you decided to come down this deserted 
path. It’s a lot safer to try and talk to you when 

there is no one else around.” 

“That makes sense,” Bunshichi said, relaxing a 

“Give me the cash.” 

“What would you have done if I had left the park 
still holding the wallet?” 

“I would just have to pretend that I didn’t know 
anything. If things got really bad I would have just 

ran for it.” 

“I just got a little nervous. So I didn’t say anything 

before you started walking away.” 

“I see.” 

“Gimme the cash” 

“That’s a nice story, but it's doesn’t quite hold 

“Oh really,” as soon as the young man had spoken, 
Bunshichi put the wallet back in his pocket. 

“What are you doing!?” the young man asked, his 
voice was stern but his heart nearly jumped out of 
his body. He looked like he was ready to explode. 

“Maybe I should try my luck with you and get to 
keep the money.” 

“What!!?” the young man yelled, his hands now out 

of his pockets. 

[ 020 ] 

He turned and walked towards Bunshichi. 

“Are you serious?” he said, still making his way 

“I'm still thinking about it,” Bunshichi said to the 
young man now standing in front of him. 

“Give it back, man,” the young man said, pushing 
his open palm towards Bunshichi. 

“Well then...,” said Bunshichi, his hands still in his 
pockets. He looked the quiet young man over with 
his cold, emotionless eyes. Out of nowhere the 
young man flung his leg up into the air. Unlike the a 
little while ago when he had that run-in with the 

thugs, now he showed amazing force, almost like 
he had purposely pretended to be weak. His leg 
was straight and headed for Bunshichi's crotch. It 
had incredible spring. It was if he had been hiding 
his natural ability this whole time. The spring in 
his leg was born from his ankle, knee and back. 

The tip of his foot missed Bunshichi's crotch, flew 
upwards and left a slight mark on his baggy shirt. It 
looked as if his foot would have hit the bottom of 

Bunshichi’s thigh, but his leg wasn’t long enough. 

Bunshichi had moved his body back about half a 
step. The young man had also jumped back quite a 
distance. There was now around three meters 
between them. Bunshichi still had his hands in his 
pockets. It was then that the young man finally 
noticed the mysterious air that seemed to wrap 

itself around Bunshichi. 

“What? Do you train as well?” the you man asked, 
relaxing his stance a little and clenching his hands 

into fists. Bunshichi was still standing casually on 
the grass. 

“I’d say you were holding yourself back just a short 
while ago.” 

[ 021 ] 

“Heh,” the young man said, a beast-like grin 
forming on his crimson lips, “Even the cops would 
have started chasing me if I had started showing 



“It was just that tall guy that was acting a little 

At that Bunshichi removed his hands from his 

pockets. He was holding the black wallet in his 
right hand. He flung towards the young man. The 
young man caught it in mid-air with his right hand. 

“Why?” he asked. 

“Because I've got no plans to try my luck against 
four opponents,” Bunshichi answered. 

“What?!” The young man finally noticed the 
presence behind him as he spoke. He side-stepped 
to the left, his face still locked onBunshichi's. 
Once he had put a bit of distance between them, he 
turned away from Bunshichi and glanced back 
towards the path. The three men were standing 
there. The guy with sunglasses that he had stolen 
from and the other man had stepped into the 
clearing. The tallest of the three, Shimamura, was 

standing behind them. 

“SHIT!” yelled the young man. He had those three 
men standing to the right of him, Bunshichi standing 
to the left and his back to the woods. There was a 
mass of tall dried tussock grass that stood between 
him and the forest. It would take a lot of time to try 
and escape through the trees. Bunshichi blocked 
him to the left, the young man had no idea what he 
was capable of, and the three men stood to his 
right. Even trying to make it to the tree line would 
be too much of a risk. He had hesitated for a 
moment and let his chance to escape slip away. 

The three men moved towards the center of the 


“Hey kid,” 

[ 022 ] 

grumbled the man wearing sunglasses 

“Looks like that guy was holding on to the wallet 
for you,” said the man standing next to him, turning 
his attention to Bunshichi. Shimamura stood behind 
the two men with his arms crossed, watching the 

situation unfold. 

“He used me to hold on to it for him, it doesn't 
mean we are working together,” said Bunshichi. 

“Huh,” the man wearing sunglasses said, his mouth 
only half open. He had propped his head forwards 
a little and his chin pointing straight out, “What do 


“In all the confusion of the crowd, this kid jammed 
the wallet into my pocket.” 


“We’re not working together” Bunshichi said softly. 
It was then that the young man spoke up out of 


“What are you talking about bro? You were the one 
that told me to do it!” 

“What!?” the man in sunglasses said, string straight 
at Bunshichi. 

“I only did it because he told me to! It's a bit late 
now, but he told me to meet him here when it was 


Bunshichi looked bemused. The young man could 
really think on his feet. He seemed like the type 
that would try anything. He was dirty. Cunning. But 
his cunning and dirtiness were somehow 


“Must be time to break the two of you up, then,” 
said the man in sunglasses. As he spoke a flash of 
golden light came from his hands. He was holding 

a hunting knife. 


The young man took a sudden step back. The other 
man also pulled a knife from his pocket. 

Shimamura was the only one not moving. 

“Give that money back,” said the man wearing 

“Even if I do give it back now, you're not about to 
let this end peacefully, are you?” said the young 
man, putting the wallet into his pocket and slowly 

moving backwards. Regardless of how much 
training one may have, light gleaming of a blade 
invokes human fear on a subconscious level. The 
young man was no exception. He took off his jacket 
and wrapped it around his fist as the the two other 
men moved towards him. Fine beads of sweat 
started to form on the young man's brow. He still 

had that devilish grin on his face. 

“You look like you're about to piss yourself,” said 
the man wearing sunglasses. The young man 
lowered his posture and readied his heel. He 
parted his legs slightly and and raised his fists in 
front of his face. It was similar to a boxing stance, 
but you probably couldn’t use it in an actual boxing 
match. His right hand was sticking out at the same 
level as his chin. His finger tips sat naturally, not 
balled into a fist. His left hand, with the jacket 
wrapped around it, was poised in the space 
between his right hand and his face, for protection. 

His hands weren't sitting still either. They were 
moving around in the air as if waiting for an attack. 
His legs were also restless. His knees were 
moving, keeping in rhythm with his fists. While it 
might look like a self taught style, it seemed that he 

had some knowledge of Karate. 


“You mind if I head home?” said Bunshichi. He 
was standing in the grass, not moving. He was like 

a thick wall of muscle. 

“Not a chance,” Shimamura spoke up, “you're 
going to face me.” A sharp light shone from the 
back of his narrow eyes as he spoke. He unfolded 
his arms and began walking towards Bunshichi. 
Then, as if someone had given a signal, the other 
two men closed in on the young man. The man in 
sunglasses made the first move. He lunged forward 
and thrust his knife out in front of himself. Much 
like the knife, the young man thrust his hand 
wrapped in his jacket and struck the man with 
sunglasses' right hand. It was then that the other 
man held his knife at his waist and ran towards the 

young man. 

“AH!” he said, using his jacket-wrapped hand to 
dodge the attack. The blade had managed to 

puncture through the fabric of the jacket. 

“Yaaaah!!” the young man cried out as he let fly a 
kick to the man's mid-section. 

“This has got nothing to do with me,” said 
Bunshichi watching the young man move. 

“It does now,” said Shimamura, putting black 
leather gloves on his hands as he walked towards 
Bunshichi. Once he had finished putting the gloves 
on, he was close enough to make an attack. He 

moved like a boxer. He made a straight right jab. 


The sound of muscle hitting muscle. Bunshichi 
shifted his weight to the left hand side of his body 

and caught Shimamura's fist in the palm of his right 
hand. His palm was thick, like a cliff face. It was 
probably about double the thickness of a normal 
person's hand. And it was big. He caught the fist 
and began to squeeze it in his palm Bunshichi then 
caught Shimamura's elbow in his left hand. A sharp 
'crack' came from within Bunshichi’s palm. It 
sounded like a dry branch being snapped in half. 
The sound stopped everyone in their tracks. It was 
a chilling kind of sound. The kind of sound that 

made your skin crawl. 

Shimamura's piercing eyes became big and round. 
He turned his vision to the wrist of his right arm 
His hand was no longer protruding from his wrist. 
It hadn’t been torn off either. His hand had been 
bent all the way underneath his arm, leaving his 
wrist looking like a smooth round stump. His 
fingers were curled up at the tips. The palm of his 
hand was flat against the underside of his arm. It 
was grotesque. It looked like some kind of 
practical joke. But they soon understood that there 

was nothing to laugh about when Shimamura 
started screaming. 

“Gyaaah-!!” he sounded like a woman. He 
elongated the “aah” sound as the pitch of his voice 
rose. He kept screaming like that until there was no 
air left in his lungs. And then his voice was gone. 
His lungs were empty. The last of the sounds 

weren’t screams of pain, but fear. 

[ 026 ] 

After the scream stopped and he sucked in another 
lung full of air, the true screams of pain began. 
They were the kind of unashamed screams you 
could never imagine coming from someone like 
Shimamura. He had been playing it so cool up until 
then. They weren’t the cries of a human, they were 

more like the cries of an animal. 

“Nahgah!”, “Nugoh!” rang out, along with ’Ugo’ 
and ’Gogogo’. It was like he was trying to say 
something but he just couldn’t get the words out. It 
seemed a mix of natural shock, extreme pain and 
psychological damage. Shimamura fell to his knees 
and rolled over on the grass. He rolled over and 

over. You could see the whites of his eyes. 

“What the hell did you do?” yelled the man in 

“You-you-you...” the other man seemed like he 
wanted to say something, but was only able to 

make sounds like a chicken. 

“Go home,” said Bunshichi. But the other two men 
didn’t quite seem to understand. The young man 
turned and looked at Shimamura, his mouth half 
agape. The man in sunglasses, still clutching his 

knife, cleared his throat a little. The other man’s 
shoulders were moving up and down in time with 

his deep breaths. 

[ 027 ] 

“Just leave,” said Bunshichi, as he took a step 
forward. The other two began to move towards 

him as if sucked in by his movements. 

The fight was over in an instant. Bunshichi’s cliff 
like right fist few out and struck the man in 
sunglasses on his left cheek. The man in sunglasses 
went flying backwards. As he pulled his right fist 
back, he pushed his right elbow forward. His 
elbow struck the other man's face and sent him 
flying in the opposite direction. They fell back into 
the grass. The sharp blades of dry grass were 

probably scratching their faces or their open eye 
balls, but they wouldn’t have noticed, they were 
completely unconscious. Bunshichi had knocked 
their consciousness right out of their bodies. The 
man wearing sunglasses was lying face-up on the 
grass. His glasses had flown so far you couldn’t 
see them anymore. The two of them were still 

clutching their knives. 

The young man was looking at Bunshichi with a 
look of awe. He was trembling with fear. 
Bunshichi cast his sleepy gaze over to the young 


“Hey,” Bunshichi called out, un-balling his fists, 
“good thing we didn’t fight, huh?” he said in a low 
voice as he turned his back to the young man. He 
turned towards the path and started walking. The 
young man didn’t move, he just stared at 
Bunshichi’s back. No, it was more that he couldn't 


“That...,” the young man started, pausing slightly as 
if unable to get the words out, “was amazing” he 

muttered to himself, clearly impressed. 

“Simply amazing! Incredible! You!” his voice 
became so loud you would think he was using a 

megaphone. He started to run after Bunshichi. 

[ 028 ] 

Chapter II 

Light shone on the surface of the water. It was 
coming from the street lights and a nearby hotel. It 
was dusk. The wind was calm and the color of the 
moon tinged of the surface of the lake. There was 

still a little light in the sky to the west. The clear 
blue sky was turning to a deep shade of purple. 

The sun was setting and with it the light was 
leaving. The moon sat large and bright in the sky to 
the east. There were one or two stars in the sky. 
There was no wind on land, but there was some 
higher in the sky and it was making the stars 

Lake Sarusawa. It was surrounded by hotels and 
lodges. There wasn't much left of the traditional 
Japanese town that once stood there. People who 
visited as children probably wouldn’t recognize it 
if they came back today. It was nothing but a 
popular tourist spot now. Bunshichi Tanba was 
standing on the shore of that lake, watching the 
light dance on the water. He had his hands firmly in 
his pockets. He had been staring out over the lake 
for about half an hour. The town was light when he 
arrived, but it was now sinking into darkness. It 
was clearly changing from dusk to night. 

[ 029 ] 

To his right, on a hillside path under Kofuku 
Temple, tourists were walking around peeking at 
the houses for sale. There were a lot of people 
coming down the path to Sarusawa and they were 
casting shadows on to the surface of the water. The 
young man from before was standing a few meters 
away from Bunshichi. He had been following 
Bunshichi for almost four hours. The young man 
had been trying to talk to Bunshichi the whole time. 
Bunshichi had ignored him, but that didn’t stop the 
young man from following him. 

“How long are you planning on following me?” 
said Bunshichi, his gaze still fixed on the 
reflections in the water. The young man lifted his 
head. He had his hands in his pockets, of course. 
His jacket had a cut-mark on the upper left 
shoulder. The young man took his hands out of his 
pockets and took a step towards Bunshichi. 

He had a shallow stab wound on his left wrist. It 
was from when he wrapped his jacket around it 
and the guy wearing sunglasses came at him with a 
knife. That’s also where the tear on the shoulder of 
his jacket came from. 

“At last he speaks!” said the young man, still 
around three meters away fromBunshichi. 

“How how much longer are you going to follow 
me around?” Bunshichi asked in a low voice. 

“How long...?” 

“I haven't got any money. If that's what you needed 
I would have given it to you.” 

“Bro, I can tell if people have money just by 
looking at them” 

“What about me?” 

“Do you think that I thought you had any money, 
bro?” said the young man, his voice showing no 

[ 030 ] 

A small, wry grin began to form on Bunshichi's 
thick lips. 

“Probably not.” 

“That’s right.” 

“So go bother someone else.” 


“...” Bunshichi didn’t answer. 

“Make me your student.” 

“Student?” without thinking Bunshichi turned and 
looked at the young man. He never thought the 
words “student” would ever come out of his 

“You're learning Karate or something right? Well, 
teach me that.” 

“Teach you?” 

“Yeah, this kind of stuff,” the young man said 
before balling his hand up into a tight fist and 
thrusting it in front of himself. It was a pretty good 
punch in it's own kind of way. He had welts on his 
fists from over-training. 

“You seem to know a little bit already.” 

“Well, yeah,” said the young man, nodding his 

“So keep doing it and get stronger.” 

“Nah, it's hopeless, that damnDojo...” 

Bunshichi kept listening. 

“All they ever do is boast about how awesome 
they are. There are so many rules and they don’t let 
us do anything. They are always wasting time with 
their bullshit.” 


“They are so stuck up they would probably turn 
you away if you challenged them without even 
throwing a single punch.” 

“Challenge them...” Bunshichi muttered, “...people 
still do that.” 

[ 031 ] 

“Yeah, they do. I’m not saying you should take the 
Dojo on by yourself, but at least just go and ask to 
observe. Go in looking like you wouldn’t hurt a fly. 
But of course have no intention of just observing 
the class and going straight home. At some point 
you ask them that you want them to teach you 


“ Htrttr t...” 

“It never happens when the seniors are there, but 
once someone did it when the seniors were gone, 
and I took them on.” 

“We really went at it. Me and him. I think he was a 
university student. Naturally he was a little more 
skilled than me. But fights really boil down 
courage. I was worse than him, but I managed to 
give him a few surprises. I didn’t care about getting 

hit. I wanted him to hit me. I only hit him once for 
every three times he hit me. But even then I didn’t 
tap out. My style wasn't half bad either. We were 
exchanging blows, getting splattered in blood when 
our instructor came back and started giving us a 

“’The Dojo is for training, not for fighting.', 
'Follow the rules'.” 


“There is no rule that says we have to hold back,” 
Ryoji grumbled. 

Normally in a Karate match, each fighter tries to 
avoid hitting their opponent with their fists and 
feet. This means that one stops their attack when 
they are on the verge of making a hit to the body. 
The judges watch this and award victories and 

losses accordingly. It's a special rule that was 
implemented as Karate attacks can be very 
dangerous. This is what the young man is talking 
about when he says 'holding back'. 

In other martial arts, like boxing or fencing, attacks 
are allowed to hit your opponents body. 

[ 032 ] 

However martial arts equipment, like padding, 
bamboo swords and ropes are used to lessen the 
impact the attacks have on the body. 

“Full contact Karate is getting more popular,” said 

“Yeah, that's true.” 

“Why don’t you just train at a full contact Karate 


the young man fell silent. 
“Just give it a go,” said Bunshichi. 
“You've got to be kidding.” 

“It’s pain in the ass. I’ll have to take my student ID, 
get permission from my parents, they'll ask me 
where I live and all that. I’m sure they will let me 
have a full contact match, but they won't let me 
have a real fight.” 

“You're not from around here, are you?” Bunshichi 
asked. The young man spoke with an unmistakable 
Kanto accent and they were in the Kansai region. 

[ 033 ] 

He spoke like an adult, but was still a bit childish, 
which made Bunshichi smile a little. He looked up 
into the night sky. It had gotten completely dark. A 
cold breeze began to blow through. Bunshichi took 
a step away. The young man followed. He walked 
away from the bank of the lake and into the bustling 
business which surrounded it. He was headed in 
the direction of Nara station. Bunshichi talked back 
over his shoulder, somehow aware that he was 
being followed. 

“Why do you want to be my student?” 

“Because you're strong,” the young man replied to 
Bunshichi’s massive back. 

“I may be strong...” Bunshichi shot back. He wasn’t 
worked up or anything, he just spoke those words 
as if they were a matter of fact,“but there are plenty 
of people who are stronger than me.” 

“Bullshit there are.” 

“It’s true.” 

“Yeah, but you laid those thugs out in no time flat, 
didn’t you?” 

“One of them had some experience with boxing. 
But I guess he was just an amateur after all. It took 
way too long.” 

“No, I mean, I just said you laid them out. But it's 
not that it took to long or was too quick. Although 
that is a thing as well. But that's not what I’m trying 
to say.” 

“What are you trying to say?” 

“Bro, you're not just strong.” 


“You're serious. You take this stuff seriously.” 

“I'm serious?” 

[ 034 ] 

“That's what makes you strong. You took out three 
street thugs one by one. That was you wasn’t it?” 


“Yeah, it was mesmerizing.” 

“It’s a good idea to get serious when people are 
coming at you with knives.” A bitter smile flashed 
across Bunshichi’s face as he spoke. He looked 
like he had just remembered something. “But I was 
taking it easy on them” 



“You couldn’t tell?” Bunshichi asked. The young 

man knew exactly what Bunshichi was saying, but 
it looked like the he was having trouble 
comprehending what he was really trying to say. 
The young man fell silent for a second before 

“So you're telling me,” the young man started, now 
standing to the left of Bunshichi, “That you went 
easy on them so as not beat them to death, but 

didn 't hold back so as to give them a thrashing?” 

“More or less.” Bunshichi said quietly. The young 
man somehow seemed to understand what 
Bunshichi was trying to tell him. “You know, for 
better of worse, thieves are nothing but trouble.” 

“Nothing decent can come from hanging around a 
kid who stole money from some guys who were 
clearly gang members.” 

“Dude, you knew I slipped the money into your 
pocket and you were going to run off with it.” 

“I wasn't really going to steal it, but what you 
stuffed into my pocket was not the kind of thing I 
could hand in to the lost and found, either.” 

“Stealing or not, you were going to make that 
money your own.” 

[ 035 ] 

“Well, a every thief has to take their cut.” 

“Shit...” the young man said, spitting on the ground. 
The spit fell on the asphalt just in front of a woman 
in jeans who was walking towards him, causing 
her to wince and pull away. 

“What did you do with the money?” Bunshichi 

“I left it there.” 


“It’s well and good to swipe cash from some guys 
who are acting tough, but you can't take money 
from a bunch of guys lying face down on the 

“You're not as nasty as you look,” said Bunshichi. 

The young man let out a chuckle as he nodded his 
head and grinned. 

“What is it?” 

“This...” said the young man as he pulled 
something out of his jacket pocket. There was a 
small bundle of 10,000 yen notes wedged between 
his fingertips. 

“You took some as well...” said Bunshichi. 

“What do you mean as well ? Did you....” 

“Just a little bit,” Bunshichi said as he puled his 
bulky hand from his jacket pocket. He too had a 
bundle of notes between his fingers. It was more 
than the young man had taken. 

“You're even worse than me,” said the young man. 

“It’s because they came at me with a knife, even 
though I was just a bystander.” 

“Wait, wouldn’t you have had to pocket the cash 
before they came at you with knives?” 

“I don’t seem to remember,” said Bunshichi, 
pretending to not know the answer. 

“You're a dog after all.” 

“Is that bad?” 

[ 036 ] 

“Oh, it’s bad.” 

“I didn’t really have a choice.” 

“I need to get myself a decent meal and get a good 
night sleep for tomorrow. This cash is for 
expenses. If I ever run into those guys again, and I 
do happen to have some cash on hand, I can pay 
them back,” the way Bunshichi spoke made it 
difficult to tell if he was serious or just joking. He 
was hard man to read. His eyes were staring off 
into the distance. 

Chapter III 

It was still dark when Bunshichi woke up, but not 
the middle of the night. Dawn was approaching. 
Dull light flowed through the window, illuminating 
the room with a soft white glow. He sat bolt 
upright in his bed, naked from the waist up. He 
sprang up with the force of raw rubber. His body 
wasn’t disproportionately brawny like a 
bodybuilder. It was more like he had thick bones 
with fat muscle wrapped around them. His muscles 
weren’t lumped on to his body, but it was more like 
his skin clung tightly to his flesh. His chest and 
abdomen were about the same width, but there was 
no sagging in the slightest. The thickness of his 
neck put it in a class of it's own. It was not easily 
noticeable when he was wearing a shirt, but it was 
really something. It was almost thicker and stuck 

out further than his head. 

Bunshichi unloaded himself from the bed, causing 
the springs to make a creaking as if the mattress 
was about to give way. The floor boards took the 
weight of his body without making a sound. All he 

had on was a pair of briefs. 

[ 037 ] 

Bunshichi had scars running all over his chest. 
Some were old, others fresh. Some of the scars 
were obviously made by blades, while others were 
unmistakably burn marks. He had two large scars, 
one on his abdomen and another on his back. The 
one on his back was a single mark that stretched 
from his right shoulder over to the armpit on the 
other side in a straight line. It looked like someone 
had slashed his back with a samurai sword. The 
scar on his abdomen was even more unusual. It 
was as if someone had tried to gouge out the left 
side of his navel. But even though it looked like a 
gouge mark, that didn’t mean that sticking out by a 

few centimeters. The skin had been pulled and 
turned. It’s the kind of scar that a blade would 
leave if it had punctured his flesh and been twisted 

in place. 

The young man was asleep on the other bed next to 
him. Ryoji Kubori. That was his name. Last night 
after he and Ryoji had gotten a bite eat, they got 
their things from the coin locker at the train station 
and booked a room at the hotel. Bunshichi pulled a 
pair of black sweatpants and a sweat shirt from 
his bag that lay on the floor. He put them on slowly. 
They were pretty worn out. They appeared to be 
more ash colored than pure black, but that 
depended on which angle you looked at them from. 
His clothes were covered in stains. They looked 
like blood stains, though it was difficult to tell how 
old they were. His arms and legs were like logs, 
but when they were hidden by his clothing it was 
only his neck that stood out. You could see the line 
from his neck to the bottoms of his ears as his hair 
was so short. 

He put his socks on. He simply pulled them over 
his feet not caring if they were the right way 
around or not. He pulled out his sneakers and 

slipped them over his feet. 

[ 038 ] 

He slowly tied his laces. Ryoji awoke as he tied 

“What the...” Ryoji mumbled, his voice still hoarse 
from having just woken up. His hair was a mess. 

“You're awake,” said Bunshichi. Ryoji sat upright 
in bed. He was also naked from the waist up. He 
was bit thinner than Bunshichi, but his upper body 
muscles were still well defined. The skin on his 
body was as smooth as his face. His body was 
supple, as if hiding strong natural reflexes. 

“Where are you going at this hour of the morning?” 

“There's no such thing as heaven, is there?” 
Bunshichi replied as he tied his laces. He wasn’t 
looking at Ryoji. 

“What...?” said Ryoji as he pulled himself up and 
sat on the edge of the bed. 

“But there probably is a hell,” he said as he 
finished tightening his laces. 

“Hold up...” said Ryoji as Bunshichi silently put 
the shirt and pants he had changed out of the night 
before and thrown on the floor into his travel bag. 
Ryoji scrambled to get dressed. He had just 
managed to ram his feet into his shoes by the time 
Bunshichi had his hand on the door knob. Ryoji 
didn’t have any luggage. 

“So, where are you going?” asked Ryoji as he ran 

his fingers through his hair like a comb. Bunshichi 
didn’t say anything. They went to reception, handed 
back the key and paid the bill. It was Bunshichi 
who paid. 

[ 039 ] 

“That’s cold, man. If I hadn’t have woken up when I 
did, you would have just left me there,” Ryoji said 
to Bunshichi's back as he walked. Bunshichi didn’t 
reply. They exited the hotel. 

“Hey man...” Ryoji started. Bunshichi turned and 
threw his bag at him Ryoji caught it against his 

“Stop talking so much,” he said to Ryoji in a quiet 
voice. His expression hadn't changed from the day 
before, but it was almost like it was a different 

personality was coming out from inside of him. 

“B-” Ryoji was about to open with ’bro’ but his 

lips froze in place. There was a kind of intensity 
coining from Bunshichi which stopped him before 
he could muster single word. Bunshichi bent his 
shoulders and knees in front of the hotel. He was 
stretching. Bending over and touching the asphalt 
with the tips of his fingers and rotating his ankles. 
He rotated his neck as well. He twisted his entire 
body and reached over his back. It was like he was 
warming up for something. Bunshichi's huge body 
suddenly started moving across the asphalt. It was 
a rhythmical movement that hid the weight of his 
huge body. Ryoji followed after him, still clutching 
the travel bag. 

Bunshichi was jogging in the direction of Nara 
park. He slowly increased his pace as he pushed 
forward. His shoulders leisurely moved up and 
down. Ryoji also increased his pace. Eventually 
Ryoji was unable to keep up with Bunshichi as he 
was carrying his luggage. 

“Shit! God damn...” 


Ryoji yelled out as he followed after Bunshichi, 
still holding on to his bag. 

The sun had yet to rise over the asphalt roads. The 
streets of Nara lay silent. Bunshichi passed by lake 
Sarusawa and into Nara park. He took the path on 
the left hand side towards lake Washi and passed 
the front of the Kasuga Shrine. It was a roundabout 
course; the long way. Bunshichi finally came to a 
stop in front of the Manyo Botanical Gardens. 
Before Ryoji, who was now about 100 meters 
behind, could voice his dissatisfaction, Bunshichi 
began some light stretching. His stretching 
movements focused primarily on his wrists and the 
joints around his neck. Be bent backwards to a 
surprising degree. He took on a Sumo wrestler's 
pose, that is to say that he stretched his legs out, 
spread them apart and crouched down so far that 
his inner thighs were almost touching the ground. 

Then Bunshichi let his upper body fall forwards. 
His chest and abdomen lay flat on the ground. His 
forehead was touching the dirt. His body was as 
supple as a gymnasts. Next he started doing push 
ups, but they were not your usual push ups. He put 
his hands on the ground, palm open, and 
effortlessly did fifty push ups. But he wasn’t 
finished. He then switched from palm to fingertips 
and did another 10 pushups. Then he curled his 
pinky fingers up and did another 10 push ups on 
only eight fingers. Every 10 push ups after that, he 
curled another finger into the palm of each hand. 
He did the last 10 push ups with his thumbs alone. 
One hundred push ups in all. That was one set. 
Bunshichi then moved on to the second set all 
while keeping a steady rhythm. 

[ 041 ] 

It was then that fine beads of sweat finally began 
shimmer on Bunshichi's brow. His breathing 
however remained normal. He stood up an wiped 
the dirt from palms. For a moment it looked like 
Bunshichi’s entire body had increased in size. It 
was as if steam was rising from his body into the 
early morning air. Morning mist had sunk through 
the trees and into the depths of the forest in Nara 
Park. Deer could be seen moving around. 
Bunshichi stopped and carefully stretched once 
again. He rolled his neck a few times before 
finally standing still. He took a deep breath and 
settled himself down on a nearby bench. He closed 
his eyes and caught his breath. It didn’t look like 
the type of scene Ryoji would want to interrupt. 
There was some kind of tingling sensation that 
seemed to radiate from Bunshichi’s body. After a 
short while, Bunshchi stood backup. He opened 

his eyes. 

“Bro...” It was Ryoji. Bunshichi ignored him and 
started walking in the other direction. He stopped 

in front of an pine tree, dropped his sweat pants 
and took a piss. It took a while to get it all out. It 
caused a thick steam to rise into the air. Bunshichi 
finished and turned his head upwards. There was 
sunlight coining up from behind the tips of the 

“Let's get moving,” he said. 

Chapter IV 

They went down the same woodland path as the 
day before. 


Bunshichi was walking ahead and Ryoji was 
trailing behind, Bunshichi's bag still in his arms. 

The mist had set in on to the tall withered grass 
that hung from either side of the path. Bunshichi's 
sweatpants and Ryoji’s jeans were damp from the 
knee down. They came to a clearing. It was the 
same one where Bunshichi had taken down those 
three thugs the day before. Naturally they were no 
longer there. Instead there were two men standing 
under the cherry blossom tree. One of them looked 
to be in his forties while the other was a lot 
younger. Bunshichi stopped once he had laid eyes 
on them He felt a strong force flex within himself. 
He lowered his head slightly and gave them a nod. 
The older man returned the gesture. The younger 
man did not. He simply gave Bunshichi and icy 


The younger man was quite tall. He looked even 
taller than Bunshichi, although he probably didn’t 
weigh as much. His shoulders were not very broad 
and he had slit eyes. His skin was pale. He was 
looking at Bunshichi through his half closed, 
Buddha-like eyes. He looked to be around 25 or 26 

years old. He was the kind of guy who could be 
mistaken for a woman at first glance. His hair was 
long. His smooth, sleek locks hung down to his 
shoulders. He was wearing a black suit. The 
blackness of his clothes made his white skin stand 
out even more. He turned his cold, glassy eyes to 

The older man was a little more stumpy. He was 
short compared to both Bunshichi and the younger 
man standing next to him, but he still would have 
stood about 5 feet 7 inches. He looked like a 
boulder who had been rolled over dead grass. 


His hairline was starting to recede. He looked like 
the human form of the lion statues that guard Shinto 
shrines. He was calm. He had black traditional 
Japanese leggings on under his Karate uniform. 

The wind came in from the left of them, lashing at 
the brittle long grass. 

“Souichiro Izumi?” asked Bunshichi. 

“That’s me,” the older man replied in a low voice. 

“I’mBunshichi Tanba,” said Bunshichi. There was 
a short silence. 

“Who are you?” he asked the younger man. 

“Tsutomu Himekawa,” the answer came from 
Souichiro. The young, long haired man 
acknowledged Bunchishi for the first time with his 

“He’s a fourth-dan at the Hokushinkan. He has been 
staying with me as a guest. I brought him along as a 
contender,” said Tsutomu. 

“The Hokushinkan, huh.” 

“He has been studying under Mr. Shozan Matsuo. 
I'm sure you are familiar with Mr. Matsuo.” 

Bunshichi gave him a nod. The Hokushinkan is an 
organization that operates outside of the Japanese 
Karate Federation. They disapprove of holding 
back and stopping attacks before they hit, and 
actually try to strike their opponents with their 
punches and kicks. The only attacks that were 
forbidden were attacks to the eyes and groin, as 
well as direct punches to the head. The founder, 

Mr. Matsuo, spent his life forming the organization, 
which practices practical Karate. It has branches 
not only in Japan, but all over the world. They 

really hit hard during training. 

“I heard that you trained in the Takemiya Style 
along with Mr. Matsuo,” 






■ »B. - 

jpfay ■■ ■: i. 

1 jV ; 1 lllfjM 

martial arts. It is a little known style of martial arts 
which emerged from the Yagyu-shinkage school. It 
uses bare knuckle fighting and weapons to try and 
defeat your opponent. It is probably closer to 
Jujitsu than it is to Karate. There is a large focus 
on throws and grappling at the joints, not only 
striking opponents with your fists. It is said that 
this style was created by a master who appeared in 
the middle of the Edo period by the name of 
Hikojiro Izumi. According to records, Hikojiro 
was able to defeat bulls and bears with his bare 
hands. The man standing in front of him, Souichiro 
Izumi, was the one who had inherited the task of 

keeping the Takemiya style alive. 

“Thank you for accepting my challenge,” Bunshichi 

“I couldn't call myself a martial artist if I didn’t 
accept when challenged,” Souichiro replied. He 
was looking straight at Bunshichi. “I've heard a lot 
rumors about you,” he continued. 

“No kidding.” 

“Yeah, I heard that you fight dirty.” 

“Really?” said Bunshichi as he slowly moved his 
body forward. He didn’t move straight forward, but 
diagonally to the right, stepping over the long dry 
grass. Souichiro leisurely let his arms fall to his 
sides as he followed Bunshichi’s movements with 
his eyes. 

“We really hit hard, ” said Souichiro under his 
breath. That line was meant as a promise. 


It meant that he didn’t want Bunshichi to hold back. 
He wanted him to really try to land his hits. He 
didn’t want it to be a 'match' where fighters stop 
their attacks short of making contact, but a real test 
to see who was the better fighter. Bunshichi 

stopped in his tracks. They were twice as close 
now as they were when they had first faced each 
other. You could feel the nerves radiating from 

them in the morning air. 

“When shall we start?” asked Bunshichi. 

“We already have,” answered Souichiro. He 
calmly shifted his weight on the grass as he spoke. 


Chapter V 

Bunshichi thought that the match would be over in 
an instant. People experienced in full contact fights 
are strong. It's only through real fights that one 
comes to know how much damage your body can 
take, and how much damage a hit is going to do 
once it connects. Even in a fight between two 
people who practice the same style of martial arts, 
the one with experience outside of a Dojo has the 
advantage. They are able to take a hit. That being 
said, the man now standing in front of Bunshichi, 
Souichiro, was not some heir to a Dojo who had 
never fought outside of one. No, they were birds of 
a feather. Whether or not he was on the same level 
as Bunshichi, he certainly looked as if he had 

plenty of experience with full contact fighting. He 
also looked like he had been through more than a 

few fights that almost cost someone their life. 

It was Souichiro that had taken on Bunshichi’s 
challenge and nominated Nara park as the place to 
fight. Duels were currently banned. Only sparring 
and competition matches was allowed. Dueling 
could possibly lead to legal action. The fact that 
Souichiro had chosen this park as the place to 
fight, and not a Dojo, meant that he never intended 
for it to be a competition match and he mentally 
prepared himself accordingly. This is the 
conclusion he had come to after hearing all the 
rumors about Bunshichi. Normally he would run 
away. Avoid the fight. That much was expected. 
Most of the experienced martial artists who had 
been challenged by Bunshichi had done so. 
However it wasn't actually Souichiro who had 
accepted Bunshichi’s challenge. One of the other 
students had accepted, but Souichiro was standing 
in for him. Everyone who had accepted up until 

now had been beaten to a pulp by Bunshichi. They 
had no choice but to use a stand-in. 

Bunshichi had nothing to lose. Even if he did, it 
was just his life that he would forfeit. If it was a 
schools honor that was at stake, then it could cost 
people their livelihoods. They wouldn't accept a 
duel in that case, even if they thought they could 
win. But he had accepted. He did think he could 



Souichiro wouldn’t have accepted if he thought he 
would lose. He would have plenty of reasons to 
run. If he had ignored the challenge completely, 
that would have been the end of it. But he 
accepted. He accepted because the thought he 
could win. He had the kind of confidence that came 
from experience. 

The master of full contact Karate, Shozan Matsuo, 

had invited Souichiro's father, Jusuke Izumi to be 
his student. Jusuke had learned techniques from 
Shozan that primarily focused on constricting 
joints. Shozan Matsuo took the joint focused 
techniques from the Takemiya style of Karate and 
added them to his own Kitatatsu Style. Souichiro 
Izumi and Shozan Matsuo were connected through 
this fork in the evolution of Karate. Jusuke was no 
longer of this world. Now his son, Souichiro, is 
continuing on where he left off. 

Souichiro and Bunshichi were now facing one 
another. They were fighting to try and critically 
injure each other. The winner would be the one 
who lands the first direct hit to the others body. 
They could gouge an eye or snap a joint. The fight 
could be decided by a single finger. For example, 
if one were to strike the other without critically 
injuring them, the other could grapple them by the 
joints of their body and the fight would be over. 
Depending on how you look at it, you could say 
that grappling is the most formidable fighting style. 

You could especially say it about one-on-one bare 
knuckle fights. You come to understand that in the 
instant the fight is over, regardless of what fighting 
style you use. 

This wasn’t the kind of fight where you would be 
asked if you want to tap out once your opponent 
has you in a hold. Once held, your arms, legs and 
knees would be broken. You would be asked if you 
wanted to tap out once your limbs had stopped 
working. Killing, or being left for dead came after 


That was the kind of fight that Bunshichi now 
faced. That's what Bunshichi would do if it were 
him. Bunshichi began to taste his own fear of 
grappling so much that it made him sick. He had 
known that unbearable pain. He felt that pain all 
over again as he watched Souichiro move towards 

him over the dry, dead grass. The fear sat in the pit 
of his stomach and licked at his insides like the 
forked tongue of a snake. It was fear from being 
grappled to the ground by a man six years ago. It 
was the taste of defeat and humiliation. Bunshichi's 
fear, however, didn’t do anything to diminish his 
determination. Rather, remembering that defeat and 
humiliation lit a dark flame inside of himself. 

Souichiro had yet to take on a fighting stance as he 
stepped through the withered grass. He was 
coming towards Bunshichi from an angle. He had 
Japanese style socks on over his feet. Bunshichi 
was also yet to take a fighting stance. Neither of 
them had begun to close the distance between them. 
As far as I can tell... Bunshichi began to think. No, 
not really think, rather instinctively feel. He was 
was still a fair distance away. As far as I can tell, 
Souichiro will try to make his final move by 
grappling me to the ground. The distance needed 
to grapple was smaller than the distance needed to 

land a couple of punches. 

But Souichiro probably wouldn’t make his first 
attack a grappling move. Firstly, after some offense 
and defense with his arms and legs, he would most 
likely look for an opening and then come in for a 
grappling attack. But even against the initial 
offense and defense with arms and legs, Bunshichi 
had a greater reach. Having a bigger body size in a 
bare knuckle fight plays an important factor in 
deciding who will win. 

[ 049 ] 

But that wasn't the the deciding factor either. The 
slight advantage of having a larger body could be 
gone in an instant if you let your guard down. This 
is especially true in serious fights. You should 
think about how to effective use your fists to strike 
your opponent before they hit you. No, not even 
think about it. Thoughts like that become a part of 
your body. They become instinct. 

Bunshichi began to move. He moved to the side, 
keeping the same pace as his opponent. He couldn’t 
move as freely as he normally could due to the 
long dry grass coming up to his knees. That meant 
that he was unable to judge the levelness of the 
ground beneath his feet. The distance between the 
two was quickly shrinking. They had both lowered 
their backs a little as they moved. Himekawa 
silently watched the two of them. Ryoji stood with 
is legs slightly ajar, clutching Bunshichi’s bag with 
both arms. His arms were tense. 

“Bro,” Ryoji called out. Souichiro moved in 
towards Bunshichi as soon as the words had left 
his mouth. Just as he moved in, Bunshichi made a 
move. His right leg flew upwards. His tree trunk 
like leg roared through the air, the sole of his foot 
striking Souichiro's chest like a spear. Souichiro 
took the hit with his bent left elbow. Souichiro then 
grabbed Bunshichi's ankle with the same hand as 
he took the blow. He grabbed the underside of 

Bunshichi’s left knee with his left hand. He then got 
into position to pull off a deciding grappling move 
using the knee and ankle. 

It is commonly said that there are around two or 
three thousand different grappling moves. 


There are attacks for every joint in the human body, 
that can be made from every part of the attackers 
body. The number of grappling moves you could 
do using only the wrist are in the double digits. 

And that number could easily double simply by 
grappling another part of the body at the same time. 
And once you have your hands in place, there is 
any number of moves you could make. 

Every type of martial art, be it Aikido, Jujitsu, 
Karate or Kung Fu, includes grappling. Even the 
Sambo style of martial arts from Russia has 
developed it's own unique methods of grappling. It 

isn't possible for a single human being to be 
proficient in every kind of grappling there is. 
Bunshichi only had a working knowledge of how 
to use and execute grappling techniques from the 
Takemiya style of karate. And that was from 
copying techniques he had only read about in 
books or heard about from others. He hadn’t even 
been taught that well by the people at his school of 
Karate. He simply had to take a guess based on his 
own grappling techniques, as well as others he had 
seen and heard about. It is also not unusual for 
secret grappling techniques to not be written down. 
There are countless techniques that are passed 
down directly from teacher to student. 

Even though it's called grappling, that doesn’t mean 
that you should suddenly try to make a finishing 
move by twisting and holding down your 
opponents body. You have to use a strict pattern of 
attack. Although most attack patterns have the same 
finishing move, they differ depending on the style 
of grappling. The most frightening opponents are 

the ones whose moves you can't read. You have to 
do something before you begin a pattern of attack 

Bunshichi kicked the at the ground with his left 
ankle. Dirt flew up and hit Souichiro, who still had 
Bunshichi by the leg. This caused Souichiro to lose 
his grip on Bunshichi. 

[ 051 ] 

Bunshichi turned his foot to the side and twisted 
his upper body to the right. This action jerked 
Bunshichi’s leg free from Souichiro's grip. 
Bunshichi then put his left hand on the dry grass 
and fell down to the ground. His left foot hit the 
ground after his hand. Souichiro began to move 
before Bunshichi's right foot hit the ground. 
Souichiro went to kick Bunshichi in the stomach 
just as he was about to get backup. Souichiro's' 
foot flew into the empty space between Bunshichi's 
stomach and the ground, but he jerked it back up 
like a snake jerking it's body away, sensing 

something about to go wrong. 

Bunshichi again twisted his body half way around 
to the side. Souichiro's snake-like foot grazed past 
Bunshichi’s torso on it's way up. Bunshichi rolled 
away over the grass. He made three complete 
revolutions and stopped upright on his knees. 
Souichiro's leg came in for an attack on 
Bunshichi’s head just as he looked up. Bunshichi 
bent his left elbow and used it to absorb the attack. 
It had the same impact of someone striking as hard 
as they could with a wooden club. It was a 
piercing kind of attack that his bulky frame wasn’t 
used to. Any normal person would be taken back 
by such an attack, wind up hitting themselves in the 
forehead with their own arm or having the bone of 
the elbow broken. But Bunshichi was able to 
absorb that power with his left elbow. 

He then stood up. The attacks were immediate. 








Bunshichi managed to repel all of Souichiro's' 
attacks. He absorbed the blows with his elbows 
and knees, used his wrists to deflect others and his 
palms to push the rest aside. 

[ 052 ] 

However there was no time for him to form attacks 
of his own. If his attacks were anything short of 
perfect, he would instantly find himself in a 
grappling hold. Souichiro's attacks were 
impressive. You would never have guessed he was 
in his forties. Around the upper body he went for 
the manubrium, the sternum, the liver and the 
suture. Around the head he aimed for the temple, 
the philtrum, the mandible and the clavicle. They 
were swift attacks, perfectly aimed at the vital 
points of the body. Letting any of them connect 
would lead to a direct hit, and Bunshichi would 

most likely pass out from pain in no time flat. 

Souichiro was as precise as a robot. There wasn’t 
a single attack that was not made at full force. 

Bunshichi soon realized what he was up against. 

He still couldn’t get into the rhythm of Souichiro’s 
movements. He had been very light on his feet 
since the beginning. That's what Bunshichi was 
thinking about as he blocked all of Souichiro’s 
attacks. He was the kind of man that wanted to use 
all the fighting moves he had been taught and bring 
his black blood to a boil while doing so. The type 
of human who thought he could utterly defeat his 
opponent with his sheer number of attacks. 

Bunshichi smelt the stench that only a person who 
had learned ways of killing a man with his bare 
hands could make. Bunshichi knew it. He could 
smell his own kind. He just knew it. A sensation of 
excitement tingled swiftly up his spine. He couldn't 
help but let a smile form on his fat lips 

[ 053 ] 

Bunshichi could see the same kind of joy twinkling 
in the eye of his opponent. Souichiro’s attacks 
weakened slightly, just for a moment. Bunshichi 
wasn’t about to just let that opportunity pass by. He 
decided to make a kicking attack to try and throw 
off his Souichiro's rhythm. That was when it 
happened. The only thing Bunshichi saw was the 
back of Souichiro's head. That was the moment. 

The movement of kicking with his left leg started in 
Bunshichi’s muscles. There was the quick 
movement of something coming up from beneath 
him with inhuman speed, as if it had predicted his 
attack. It was the left heel of Souichiro, who had 
turned his back on Bunshichi and lent forward. His 
heel was about to wedge itself into the gap 
between Bunshichi’s thighs. 

A heel-kick between the legs is enough to crush 
ones testicles and have them pass out from the 
pain. If unlucky, it could lead to death. Even if it 
didn’t kill you, it would shatter your pubic bones. 


Whether it was a cry of fear, or the cry of an attack, 
Bunshichi himself didn’t even know. Bunshichi 
thrust his hand straight down in the direction of his 
crotch. His hand met Souichiro's heel between his 
legs. There came a sharp sound. The two attacks 
canceled each other out. If Bunshichi didn’t have 
the body weight that he had, there is no mistaking 
that Souichiro’s heel would have pushed straight 
past his hand a crushed his testicles, if the sheer 
speed of the attack didn’t kill him outright. This 
was a chance to win. Bunshichi jumped up above 
Souichiro, who was still bent over in the opposite 
direction. He put all of his weight behind his right 
elbow and came down on Souichiro's spine. 

[ 054 ] 

“Gyaaa!” Souichiro groaned as he spat out some 

phlegm. Their bodies sunk into the grass, one on 
top of the other. Bunshichi’s left arm was wrapped 
around Souichiro's face, trying to force it to the 
right hand side. Bunshichi's thick arm covered 
most of Souichiro's face, from his right cheek to his 
chin. From there he pulled Souichiro's half turned 
head up towards his chest. Souichiro's spine and 
neck were bent all the way back. Souichiro tried to 
scream, but the voice was unable to pass his lips. 
Bunshichi had his left arm under Souichiro's armpit 
and left hand, from the outside. The hand of his left 
arm was spread out from Souichiro's armpit to his 
collar bone. His fingers were intertwined with 
those of Souichiro's left hand, which was wrapped 
around his face. 

Just then there was a tearing sound. The sound 
came from Souichiro's shoulder which was 
wrapped in the muscle of Bunshichi’s arms. It was 
like the sound a chicken wing makes when you take 
either part of the wing in each hand and pull them 
opposite directions, ripping it apart at the joint. 

“ Guuuh ,” a muffled sound managed to pass through 
Souichiro's lips. The extreme pain pushed trough 
the obstruction of his throat. Souichiro was losing 
his ability to move. Bunshichi got up off of 
Souichiro and took a step back. He took a deep 
breath. And that's when it happened. Souichiro's 
body, which should have limp and lifeless, sprung 
forth from the long grass. With his left arm hanging 
loosely at his side. He made a 'V shape with the 
middle and index fingers of his right hand and 

lunged towards Bunshichi's face. 

[ 055 ] 

He was aiming for Bunshichi’s nose. If he managed 
to land the 'V of his fingers onto Bunshichi's nose, 
they would slide up and hit his eyeballs. If he got 
his fingers in there, it would be direct, single strike 
attack, and Bunshichi wouldn’t be able to turn his 
head away. 

Bunshichi jerked his head to the side a split second 
before impact, and landed a heavy punch on 
Souichiros unguarded left cheek with his right fist. 
Souichiro was knocked over, but he got straight 
back up. He looked back at Bunshichi and spat out 
a mouth full of blood and chipped teeth. His blood 
soaked Bushichi’s sweat pants an even darker 
shade and the tooth chips lay grainy against the 
cloth. Souichiro wasn't ready to give up. 

Bunshichi gave Souichiro another blow from his 
heavy fist. Souichiro was again thrown backwards, 
and again tried to get back up. Bunshichi drove the 
heel of his left sneaker into Souichiros chest as he 
tried to get back up. The sound of cracking bone 
could be heard. Souichiro tried to get up again, but 
again Bunshichi drove his heel into the same place. 
Again there was the sound of cracking ribs. 
Souichiro finally stopped moving. His red mouth 
opened and his eyes gazed up towards the sky. He 
had been a decent challenge. 

Bunshichi’s body was shaking a little. Not even he 
knew how or why he was shaking. He took a deep 
breath and took a few steps back. He felt like they 
had been fighting for a half hour, but it would have 
been around five minutes at the most. Bunshichi 
looked up. 

[ 056 ] 

Tsutomu Himekawa stood under the cherry 
blossom tree. His expression hadn’t changed from 
before. His eyes were like ice. A wry smile had 
formed on his lips. He slowly walked over to 
where Souichiro was lying face up on the ground. 
He bent down and took a look at him. 

“He'll be OK. I didn’t do enough damage to kill 
him,” said Bunshichi as he watched Souichiro 
slowly stand backup on the grass. The cuff of his 
black leggings were blowing in the wind and 
rustling against the long dry grass. He looked at 
Bunshichi through his squinty eyes. 

“You wanna try again?” Bunshichi asked in a low 

“No, he doesn't,” Himekawa quietly answered 
back. It seemed that it didn’t really matter to this 
long haired man if Souichiro had lost on behalf of 
his school. 

“That was a terrific match,” said Himekawa, 
turning his glassy eyes towards Bunshichi. 

“May I ask you something?” 


“What was that move you used with the headlock 
around his neck and left arm?” 

“Oh, that...” 

“I had never seen it before.” 

“It’s called the Chicken Wing Face Lock or 

“Chicken... Wing...” 

“Face Lock,” said Bunshichi, finishing the sentence 
off for him. 


“Yeah, I saw it on TV once,” said Bunshichi, the 
inflection of his voice made it difficult to tell 
whether he was joking or being serious. 

[ 057 ] 

“I think that I would very much like the chance to 
challenge you one day,” said Himekawa. 


“Would I not make a worthy opponent?” 

“I would really like to see you in the same 
condition you have left him,” said Himekawa. He 
made this bold statement as he let his vision turn 
back towards Souichiro. 

“Well, everyone gets a turn, don't they.” 

“A turn?” 

“Yes. He has left a number of opponents looking 
just like you have left him. Today it was finally his 

“Do you think I’ll get a turn?” Asked Bunshichi. 

“Someday,” Himekawa said, grinning. 

“I think I might want to get out of here before it's 
my turn,” Bunshichi said to himself as he turned his 
back on Himekawa's smile. He stopped in front of 
Ryoji, who was still holding Bunshichi’s bag. 
Bunshichi grabbed the bag out of his arms and gave 
him a light pat on the shoulder. Bunshichi's pat 
seemed to snap Ryoji out of the trance he he had 
fallen into. He had been shaking a little. 

“So long,” Bunshichi said before walking in the 
other direction. Ryoji, who stood staring at 
Bunshichi’s back for a moment, suddenly followed 
after him as if Bunshichi's farewell had flipped 
some kind of switch inside of him. 

“Wait!” he yelled, “Wait for me! Bro! You can’t 
just walk away and leave me here!” 

Part One : The Duel 
The End. 

[ 058 ] 

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[ 059 ] 

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[ 060 ] 


[ 061 ] 

It was nothing really. Saito's elbow had lightly 
bumped into the man standing next to him at the 
bar. The was talking Karate withBunshichi. Saito 
was 20 years old and Bunshichi was 16. It was 
Saito who had invited Bunshichi out for a drink . 
Bunshichi had grown past 5 feet. His face had 
matured as well. He had grown some thick and 
unkempt facial hair making him look a lot older 
than 16. He looked even older than Saito, maybe 
23 or 22 years old. 

The bar was cramped. It had been built under a 
train bridge. There was only standing room inside 
the bar and you could fit maybe ten people inside 
at the most. Bunshichi was sitting to the right of 
Saito. They were drinking sake together. Around 
seven empty Sake bottles sat around them on the 
counter top. They had drunk about half each. Saito 
was a little more drunk than Bunshichi and 

Compared to Bunshichi's poker face, Saito was 
looking a little red in the face. 

However it was Saito who overpowered 
Bunshichi in the Dojo. Even though Bunshichi was 
taller than him, Saito's foot had made a good sound 
when it hit the side of Bunshichi's head. Though 
they were having a conversation, Bunshichi was 
doing most of the listening. 

Saito was talking mainly about his own martial 
arts accomplishments. He was letting Bunshichi 
hear about the number of fights he had in the past. 
Bunshichi had heard all his stories before. The 
empty Sake bottles would shake against each other 
and make a rattling sound every time a train passed 
overhead. He was talking about the time he had a 
fight with a member of the Karate club from some 


“So, I knew he was going to try and kick me...” 
Saito bent his elbow into a the shape he 
presumably used to absorb the attack as he spoke. 
That was when Saito's left elbow came into 
contact with the right arm of the man standing next 
to him at the bar. The was gripping his glass of 
beer with his right hand. The freshly poured beer 
was filled all the way to the top. His drink spilled 
a little and wet the sleeves of his suit. He hadn't 
bumped him that hard. It was a light tap if anything. 
But is was enough to make a full beer spill over. 
Saito had half turned away from the man, lost in his 
own story. He didn’t seem to have realized what 
had happened. 

“Hey,” the man said in a low voice. Bunshichi 
realized that something had happened as soon as he 
heard that voice. Saito most likely heard it as well, 
but probably didn’t realize that the man was 
speaking to him. 

“Hey” The voice had more power the second time 

around. Saito felt someone place their hand on his 
shoulder. Saito finally realized that it was him who 
was being called on. 

[ 062 ] 

“What are you going to do about this?” the man 

“What?” Saito replied, clearly confused. He had 
no idea what the man was talking about. 

“Look!” the man said, holding up his sopping 
sleeve. Saito still didn’t get it. “It's beer,” the man 

“It’s beer?” 

“You hit me with your shoulder and got beer all 
over my sleeve,” said the man. 

Saito spoke before thinking. 

“OK,” said Saito, bowing his head. He then turned 
his back on the man again to face Bunshichi and 
continue his story. 

“What the hell was that?” the man said as put his 
hand back on Saito's shoulder, his voice now much 
more violent. Bunshichi watched as Saito's red 
face got even redder. 

“What an asshole,” Saito said to Bunshichi, 
purposely raising his voice loud enough so the man 
would hear. 

“You son of a bitch,” the man said as he squeezed 
his hand even harder. 

“What the hell?” said Saito, ripping the man's hand 
off of his shoulder. Bam. There came a noise. Saito 
and the man both stood up. The chairs they had 
been sitting in were now halfway to the floor. The 
bar was cramped, so they stopped halfway, leaning 

against the wall of the room. 


The man would have been around 25 or 26 years 
old. The was wearing a blue blazer over his shirt. 
He had his collar popped and open. He was 
wearing sunglasses. Bunshichi knew exactly what 
kind of opponent he would be. 

If this type of guy came walking towards you out 
on the street, you would normally try to avoid 
making eye contact with him. He's the kind of guy 
who would pick a fight with a stray cat or dog if he 

“Take it outside,” the owner of the bar called out 
form behind the counter. He didn’t even bother to 
lookup from the dishes he was washing. This 
wasn’t the first time something like this had 
happened. He spoke bluntly. “You can fight all you 
want outside,” he went on, his eyes still on his 


Another man stood up behind them. He had been 
drinking with the man wearing sunglasses. He had 
brought him along. 

“Takimoto...,” the man said, pulling at his arm. He 
put one hand in his pocket, pulled out a small 
wallet and placed it on the counter. He then took 
out a five thousand yen note. He left the money on 
the counter and returned the wallet to his pocket. 
He was still holding his friend with his other hand. 

“I'll leave the cash here then,” said the man as he 
pulled at his friends arm. “ Let's go.” He pulled at 
Takimoto's arm again. 

“Kijima,” Takimoto started, turning towards the 
man who held his arm His tone showed 

[ 064 ] 

The man holding Takimoto's arm, Kijima, ignored 
the bar owner as he was about to hand him his 
change in coins and pulled Takimoto out of the bar 
by his arm. The cramped bar again fell silent. It 
felt subdued. Saito put his seat back up and sat 

“Shit,” he said before emptying the remaining Sake 
from his cup to his mouth. “God damn punk.” He 
no longer felt like continuing his story from before. 
About ten minutes later they stepped out of the bar. 
The roads under the train bridge were dark. They 
walked out from under the bridge to the rear of the 
station, as opposed to the front. It was around half 
past ten at night. The street wasn’t all that big. The 
streets were empty save the street lights that stood 
lonely by the wayside. The two of them were on a 
narrow asphalt sidewalk that was separated from 
the road by steel railing. Bunshichi and Saito were 
walking on the road. They had barely been walking 

for a couple of minutes before they heard a voice 
come from behind them. 

“Hey!” it was the same voice as before. Bunshichi 
knew who’s voice it was the instant he heard it. 

“What?” Saito called back. The two men from 
before, Takimoto and Kijima, were standing there. 
Takimoto had taken off his sunglasses. He was 
looking at Bunshichi and Saito through narrow 
eyes. His eyes were dark and calm. He looked 
much more menacing than he did when he was 
wearing sunglasses. Takimoto chuckled. 

“So, you were saying you know Karate,” said 
Takimoto as he walked over. 

[ 065 ] 

He was holding something in his right hand. It was 
fat and black in the shape of a club. The light from 

the street lights reflected sharply off the object. It 
was a beer bottle. As he walked over, Takimoto 
brought the beer bottle down onto the steel railing 
that divided the road and the foot path. The bottle 
struck the metal and smashed. The liquid inside 
turned to white froth and poured out on to the 
pavement. He had turned the a bottle of beer into 
an threating weapon. The angles and curves formed 
by the splintered glass were both sharp and blunt. 
The tip of the bottle looked like it could rip 
someones cheek clean off. 

Takimoto looked over at Saito with brazen eyes. 

He didn’t look like he had came all this way to 

“You were saying you're strong,” said Takimoto, 
his voice subdued. “Why don’t you show me some 

Saito had already taken a cat stance. His left leg 
was slightly forward and bent at the knee so that 

his toes were pointing towards the ground. He had 
most of his body weight resting on his right leg, 
which was placed further back and was slightly 
bent. He used his knees and elbow to get his body 
into a light fighting rhythm. The edge of his left 
hand was at the same level as his shoulder and was 
sticking out, but he didn’t have his arm stretched 
out flat. He balled his right hand up into a fist and 
held it close to his chest. It was a fighting stance 
used for fights outside of a Dojo. Takimoto kept 
walking towards Saito, completely undeterred. He 
didn’t even slow down. 

Kijima stayed still. Bunshichi was just standing 
there as well. Strangely enough, he didn’t feel the 
urge to jump in. It wasn’t simply because Saito had 
started the fight himself and it had nothing to do 
with Bunshichi. 

No, it was because Bunshichi wanted to see how 
Saito would handle a thug. He thought that if 
Kijima made a move, then he would as well. But if 

Kijima didn’t make a move, then neither would he. 
That's what Bunshichi had decided. 

Saito darted to the side as Takimoto approached 
him. He immediately regained his cat stance. 
Takimoto changed course and continued to walk 
towards Saito. Saito was moving his left knee up 
an down to keep his body in a fighting rhythm 
Takimoto had lowered his back slightly as well. 
His eyes were getting more and more narrow. He 
thrust the broken bottle in front of himself, aiming 
for Saito's face. Saito kicked up his left leg. He 
had been given an invitation. 

When Saito's foot reached the spot where 
Takimoto's right hand should have been, Saito 
found that it had moved out of the way. He wasn’t 
aiming for Saito's face. He was aiming for Saito's 
left foot and left knee, which still wasn't fully 
stretched out. Takimoto rammed the broken bottle 
into Saito's left knee cap as hard as he could. It 
made a horrible cracking sound as the glass broke. 

Saito let out a cry at the same time. Takimoto had 
been aiming for Saito's knee from the start. Saito 
grabbed his knee and fell back on the asphalt. 
Takimoto sunk his foot into Saito's stomach. 

“Hey Karate kid, what's wrong?” Takimoto 
taunted. Saito spat at the ground. Bunshichi was 
stunned. He knew first hand how strong Saito was. 
And now he was getting beaten by a petty thug right 
before his eyes. He couldn’t believe it. 

[ 066 ] 

Bunshichi wanted to save Saito, but his body 
wouldn’t move. He didn’t want to see Saito getting 
beaten like this. He wanted to see Saito make a 

counter attack and knock the thug over. 

“Tanba!” Saito called out. His voice was asking 
why Bunshichi wouldn’t help. Bunshichi didn’t 
move. He looked over to Kajima. Kijima showed 

no emotion as he watched his friend attack Saito. 

“Fucking prick...,” said Takimoto, his voice ringing 
in Saito's ears. Saito grabbed Takimoto's leg as it 
hit and held it to his stomach. Saito looked 
desperate. He used his right leg to knock the 
gangster off his feet; he had one foot in his hand 
and kicked the other leg out. Takimoto fell 
backwards on the asphalt. The back of his head hit 
the asphalt with a thud. His jagged glass weapon 
fell from his hands. Saito them straddled Takimoto, 
who had at this point gotten a concussion. 

Saito started punching Takimoto in the face. The 
were normal, fist-fight punches. When it came 
down the sheer strength, Saito had the upper hand. 
Saito lessened his attacks a little. He had let his 
guard down. Bunshichi was watching so Saito had 
wanted to win this fight using proper Karate 
techniques. Bunshichi could now see that Saito had 
intended to get Takimoto to the ground with a 
single attack. 

It wasn’t just that his opponent was used to fighting. 
It was a mixture of skill, luck and him letting his 
guard down. Saito had taken the initiative and 
struck back, but he had completely forgotten his 

[ 067 ] 

He was just pummeling his opponents face with 
his fists. His punches fell from just below his 
shoulders. Blood came flowing from his opponents 
face. Takimoto's face was getting drenched in 
blood. Bunshichi was watching the spectacle from 

the side. 

Kijima’s expression hadn’t changed. He was a 
strange guy. It seemed like he had no intention of 
getting involved in a fight that had nothing to do 
with him. Halfway through the fight, two cars 

drove past. It hadn’t even been three minutes since 
the fight started. 

“Shit,” Takimoto gasped. He shoved his right hand 
into his blazer. “You little shit!” His right hand 
moved. A beam of reflected light from the metal 
went straight up from beneath Saito's chin and 
knocked him to the side. Bunshichi saw it. Once 
the metallic beam of light was pulled out/removed, 
a spray of dark came out from just below Saito's 
chin. It was like he had a mouth-full and was 
spitting it all out. There was thick spray, as thick as 
your fingers and a mist like spray that all came out 
together. The liquid poured down on Takimoto’s 
face. All the liquid started to form a pool around 
his head and started to flow onto the asphalt of the 

The spray died down quickly. The last of the liquid 
built up on the opening of the wound in time with 
the final beat of his heart. Saito stopped moving. 
Bunshichi cocked his head to the side. Bunshichi’s 

eyes looked as though they wanted ask what had 
happened, as he couldn’t comprehend the situation. 
His mouth was open. 

[ 068 ] 

Bubbles of blood rose up from between Saito's 
lips. Saito's eyes became distant. He fell face¬ 
down on top of Takimoto. 

A horrid smell wafted into Bunshichi's nose. It was 
the smell of blood. Bunshichi’s legs were 
trembling. Fear came from the soles of his feet and 
raced through his entire body. He couldn’t he was 
speechless. After a little while it seemed that 
something was going to come forth from his lips. 
Bunshichi knew that it would be a scream He 
knew that if he were to scream, it makes things a 
little easier to handle. But no sound left his mouth. 
It was as if the scream itself had gotten caught in 
his throat. 

Takimoto crawled out from under Saito's body. He 
was gripping a blood stained knife in his right 
hand. Takimoto looked around as he was about to 
get up. Bunshichi was the only one left. Kijima had 
gotten himself out of there at some point. Takimoto 
got up. His face and his hair were both covered in 
blood. Droplets of blood dripped from his matted 
hair. He glared at Bunshichi. 

“You wanna wind up like this?!” he barked. 
Bunshichi wanted to run. But he felt like that as 
soon as he made a move he would end up on the 
ground. He had pissed himself. His crotch felt 






I've got to get out of here, he thought to himself. He 
wanted to run away, go home and forget about 
everything that had happened. He wanted to jump 
into his futon and go to sleep. He would never 
even think about learning Karate again. But he 
didn’t know which way he should run. He was 
panicking. He turned forward and took a look at 
the man. He had his lips curled up over his blood 
stained teeth. He couldn’t take it anymore. His 
throat exploded. A spirit-like scream came from 
his lips. It wasn’t a scream It was a howl. 

He ran. Bunshichi's fate from then on was to be 
decided by the path he ran down. Bunshichi 
quickly looked back at the man who had stared at 
him with those horrible eyes as he ran from the 



[ 069 ] 

The room was dark. Dark, but not pitch-black. 

[ 070 ] 

A man was lying on his back, and the woman next 
to him was lying on her side, resting her head on 
his shoulder and moving her hand around in circles 
on his chest. The sheets came up to their waists. 
The woman was half draped over the man, her 
right breast was sitting on the man’s upper left 
chest. Her complexion was fairer than most. He 
had the same skin tone as she did. It wasn’t only 
their skin. Both had long hair that fell down to their 

shoulders. The man had a strange smile on his face. 
At a glance, they looked like two women sleeping. 

However you could quickly tell that one of them 
was a man by his defined shoulders and arms. His 
chest rolled with clearly defined chest muscles. 

The woman had her eyes closed but the man had 
his open as he lay on his back. Tsutomu Himekawa. 
That was his name. 

Himekawa wasn’t staring at the ceiling, it was as if 
he was staring at something far off in the distance. 
You couldn’t see it because of the sheets, but the 
woman’s right leg was curled over his left leg. She 
was lightly rubbing her leg against his. She looked 
to be around 20 years old. She opened her eyes. 

She had big, wide eyes. She opened her mouth to 
talk, even though her lips were still resting on 
Himekawa's chest. It was like she was about to 
whisper to his heart. 

“What are you thinking about?” she asked. It's a 

line that women use to get silent men to tell them 
what's on their minds. Himekawa didn’t answer. 
“What are you thinking about?” she asked again. 

[ 071 ] 

“I’m not thinking about women,” said Himekawa. 
“So you're thinking about men?” 


“Who? Who’s the guy?” 

“Bunshichi Tanba.” The woman next to him got a 
sudden rush of nerves as soon as Himekawa had 
said the name. “I was thinking about the man who 
beat up your father.” 


“He's a strange one.” The right hand that was 

resting on Himekawa's chest slowly made it's way 
down his body. Up and over his chest and 
underneath the sheets. Those white fingers found 
what they were looking for. They started touching 

“You're leaving tomorrow, aren’t you?” she asked. 
“I've already made plans.” 

“Oh yeah, that's right.” she said before running her 
teeth over his nipple. 

“Everyone involved will start wanting to know 
more information and all the details of what's been 
going on.” 

“Mr. Izumi has gotten back on his feet, so he will 
probably be fine,” said Himekawa, the woman 
looked up at his face as he spoke. Himekawa had 

deep, brooding eyes. 

“Well I'm not fine,” she said. “I wonder how long I 
can hold on for.” she continued with a smirk. 

[ 072 ] 

“You're the one that made me like this,” she said, 
the movements from under the bed sheet started to 
get faster. Himekawa gave a bitter smile. He 
probably wasn’t the one who made her a woman. 
Two months ago when he first slept with her, 
Saeko Izumi, he knew that she was no stranger to 
men. When he entered her for the first time, she 
raised her hips as she raised her voice. 

What Saeko was trying to say was that she only 
became the kind of woman that would reach out 
and grab a man all on her own since she had been 
with Himekawa. Talking dirty halfway through the 

act, and holding her mouth closed when Himekawa 
got going. Himekawa had made the first move, but 
it had was Saeko that had seduced Himekawa. 
Walking around the house in her nightie, asking 
Himekawa to bring her soap when she was taking a 

Both were fine with it. Himekawa was fine with 
her as his lover for the time being. It wasn't 
because she was the daughter of a martial artist, 
but because she had a tight, voluptuous body. She 
could take on any kind of might with her supple 
limbs. She was quick to learn the arts of the 
bedroom. Her face and figure were much better 
than average. She had the kind of beauty that made 
her look a little dangerous. 

For Himekawa, who's only redeeming feature was 
his strength, it was a complete mystery how he 
managed to bed this woman. It seemed she was 
less like her father and much more like her mother, 
who died around 10 years ago. 

But the only thing on Himekawa's mind was 
Bunshichi. The man was like a cliff face. He had 
brought some strange kid along with him to the 
meeting point, and was waiting patiently in a pair 
of trainers. 

[ 073 ] 

He was big, but also knew how to keep his 
balance. He could tell just by remembering his 
muscles that his body made for full contact 
fighting, ft was a mystery how he had never heard 
of his name until recently. He would have no 
trouble cleaning up if he were to enter into 
regional competitions. Then again, a guy like him 
wouldn’t be able to fight like himself in a 
competition with rules. He smelled like a wild 
beast. There was the one thing that he had in 
common with Ichiro Koizumi. He too had become 
a black sheep in the world of martial arts. While 
he had talent, his techniques were far too 

dangerous to be able to use in a sanctioned match. 

But there was one more man like Bunshichi and 
Souichiro. That was Shozan Matsuo, head of the 
Kitatatsu training hall. Himekawa wanted to meet 
him again. He wanted Bunshichi Tanba to meet 
him. Thinking about that meeting brought a little 
smile to Himekawa's face. 


Himekawa looked down to find her face looking 
up at him. 

“Let's do it one more time...” she said with puppy- 
dog eyes. What she was holding under the sheet 
was now rock hard. Without saying a word, 
Himekawa tore the sheets away. The thing sitting 
between her fingers was looking straight up at the 
ceiling. She changed her position and wrapped her 
lips around the tip, and went all the way down to 

the base. She was one intense woman. 

[ 074 ] 

She then twisted her head from side to side while 
making her tongue dance inside her mouth, all 
while holding Himekawa's member at it's base. 

She slowly pulled her head back. She was 
becoming more and more like who she really was. 
She paused for a moment, a smile on her face. She 
was lashing her tongue around in her mouth. 
Himekawa stretched his arm out and grabbed her 
backside. Saeko knew exactly why. She moved her 
waist and put her knees over Himekawa's face. He 
could see her flesh colored cave. She was dripping 
wet. Himekawa was looking at her in the dim light. 
She lowered herself down on his face as if getting 

Himekawa smiled as he opened her up with his 
fingers. His tongue was touching her. That was 
enough to make Saeko wriggle her hips. She made 

a muffled sound as she held him in her mouth. She 
took her lips off of him and further lowered her 
hips onto Himekawa's face. She was still stroking 
him with her right hand. 

“I don’t care if you have to leave!” Saeko said. She 
was rubbing herself in Himekawa's face as she 
spoke. “You can leave, just do it to me now!” she 
said, raising her voice. “Do it! Do me to death!” 
she cried out. Himekawa pulled himself out from 
under the woman once he had finished using his 
tongue. She grabbed at the bed sheets and stuck her 
hips up out in the air. She looked like a wild 

[ 075 ] 

He had only just finished licking her. She looked 
like she couldn’t wait any longer. He had planned 
on teasing her even more. Thinking about making 
Saeko go mad with sexual madness made his lips 
begin to open. Himekawa fell down to his knees 

behind Saeko, who had her hips perched up in the 
air. Himekawa got closer to her. Saeko enticed him 
by moving her hips around. Her hips moved 
quickly, begging Himekawa to push himself inside. 
It was their last night together, so she was even 
more worked up than usual. She was wet enough. 
Himekawa's tip slid in much easier than he thought 
it would. Saeko let out a high pitched groan. She 
felt sharp vibrations from her head down to her 
toes. She looked like she was about to climax from 
the first thrust alone. Himekawa started freely 
moving as Saeko moved her hips from left to right. 


It was a small bar. The air was thick with cigarette 
smoke and filled with the Kansai dialect. It would 
only take about 15 people of so to fill the bar to the 

brim. There were two box seats and a line of 
stools at the counter. There were only two free 
seats left. The counter was made from wood. The 
bar was covered with bulging ash trays and over 
turned sake cups. 

[ 076 ] 

Marks left by dried up liquor were everywhere. 
Bunshichi Tanba and Ryoji Kubo were sitting at the 
very end of the bar. Bunshichi was drinking. There 
were two sake cups sitting next to each other, so it 
seemed that Ryoji was drinking as well. They were 
watching a TV that sat above the entrance of the 
bar. Bunshichi had forgotten his drink and had his 
eyes glued to the TV set. Ryoji didn’t look like he 
was all that interested. 

It was a wrestling show. It had just come back on, 
but hadn’t been long since it started. A prominent 
Japanese wrestler was going up against a 
foreigner. They were jumping around the ring, 

bouncing each other off the ropes. Using the 
bounce of the rope, the Japanese wrestler punched 
the foreigner in the chest. The foreign wrestler 
absorbed his punch by sticking his fat chest out. It 
was as if the Japanese wrestler's fist did no 
damage at all. The Japanese wrestler punched his 
foreign opponent in the chest a number of times, 
until the foreign wrestler suddenly grabbed the 
Japanese wrestler by the arm and pulled it 

The foreign wrestler floored the Japanese wrestler 
and brought his elbow down into his back. The 
Japanese wrestler crawled backup undeterred. 

The foreign wrestler who had pulled the Japanese 
wrestler up to his feet. He grabbed the Japanese 
wrestler by the shoulder and arm, and threw him. 

[ 077 ] 

The Japanese wrestler flew back-first into the 
corner of the ring. The foreign wrestler then 

charged into the Japanese wrestler with his 
shoulder. He buried his shoulder into the Japanese 
wrestler's body. The ref was about stop the fight, 
but the foreign wrestler had no intention of 
stopping. The booming voice of the announcer 
continued non-stop. 

“Shit,” Ryoji said to Bunshichi, “this is bullshit, 
why are we even watching it?” Bunshichi didn't 
answer. Instead he just brought a sake cup up to his 
lips. He was thinking about the past. The bar he 
was in now felt like the bar he had been drinking in 
with Saito. He was about as old as Ryoji is now. 
Bunshichi could still remember the look in Saito's 
eyes the moment he died. The Japanese wrestler 
appeared again with a black eye. The image of 
Saito's face hovered over the face of the Japanese 
wrestler inBunshichi's mind. He wondered if 
Saito was ever in a match like this one. Bunshichi 
didn’t notice his cup had ran dry as he had been 
thinking so much. Ryoji filled Bunshichi's cup with 
liquor as he had been doing all night. He was 

sulking a little. 

“This is all scripted though isn’t it? These fights 
are fixed for sure,” said Ryoji. Bunshichi turned 
and faced Ryoji for the first time. There was a light 
in his eyes that Ryoji had never seen before. 

[ 078 ] 

“Dude, what?” asked Ryoji. He spoke as if he felt 
pressure corning from Bunshichi's stare. Bunshichi 
remained silent. 

“What is it?” Ryoji asked again. 

“Maybe it is scripted, I don’t know,” said 
Bunshichi in a low voice, “but there is one thing I 
know for certain,” he went on, subtle fear in his 

“...” Ryoji remained silent. 

“Some of them are really strong,” said Bunshichi, 
as sharp gleam in his eyes. 

That was when the announcer called out the 

Japanese wrestler's name, Kajiwara. That's right 
Mr Kawabe, it looks like Kajiwara has returned. 
The announcer was speaking to the commentator. 
At some point the foreign wrestler had won the 
match and the TV screen had switched over to the 
announcer and the commentator. He certainly has, 
and it would be nice if he were able to bring the 
championship belt home with him. The 
commentator answered the announcer with a 
smooth voice. 

There came a sharp sound from inside Bunshichi’s 
hand. It was the sound of his sake cup cracking 
between his fingers. 

The End. 


[ 079 ] 

It was a narrow road. There was nothing there 
save a simple, abandoned mechanics workshop. 
The inside wasn’t even set up properly. There was 
a ring, some dumb bells, a bench press, and a 
punching bag that hung form the ceiling. A simple 
tarpaulin sheet divided the training room from the 
shower room. The rolling garage doors were open, 
but the training room was still hot and muggy. 

In front of the ring lay a pair of koshti; dumb-bell 
like training equipment that are used to increase 

arm strength. They are thick wooden club-like 
objects, around 60 centimeters in length. The 
handles are thinner, but they still weigh about 11 kg 
each. You pick up one with each hand and push 
them up above your shoulders. They are made in 
Pakistan. They work your forearm muscles, triceps 
and deltoids. You lift them over your back and 
back forward again. Even those who are co nf ident 
in their arm strength see them as a challenge. 

The summer sun beat down from above out side of 
the training room. The sunlight cast a thick shadow 
from the roof. 


The heat from inside the training room, however, 
was not borne from the light above. The heat from 
the bodies of men training in silence far 

outweighed the heat of the sun. 

It was a hot day. It would have been around around 
38 degrees. You would break a sweat just by 
standing up. The sun felt like sandpaper on the 
shoulders. Bunshichi Tanba stood in the sun, 
looking into the training room. He was only 
wearing jeans and a t-shirt. There was a sports bag 
sitting at his feet. There were two middle school 
aged boys holding cameras, their lenses pointed at 
the men inside. While they were outside of the 
training room, there wasn't really anything fencing 
them off The rolling garage doors that divided the 
inside and outside were raised. The two school 
boys were whispering the names of the wrestlers 
they recognized as the held their lenses up to take 
pictures. They were using zoom lenses that were 
pretty expensive for a kid in middle school. 

In the ring there were a group of three wrestlers 
practicing their grappling moves. One wrestler had 
another wrestler in a lock and had bent his wrist 
and elbow back impossibly far. The wrestler 
caught in the hold struck back at his opponent with 

his free hand. The wrestler released his hold and 
began trying to make another one. You couldn’t 
ignore the strong smell of oil that hung in the air. 

“OK,” came a low voice from inside. The voice 
came from a short and dumpy man, who looked 
short compared to the others. The men training both 
in and out of the ring stopped what they were 
doing. Everyone was dripping with sweat. 

[ 081 ] 

Most of the wrestlers were wearing t-shirts. Old, 
worn out T-shirts. A subtle look of relief fell over 
the faces of the wrestlers. Even if you were to call 
them wrestlers, they all still looked quite young. 
They all had fresh cuts and bruises on their faces. 

It didn’t look like there were any new members 
there either. It was more like they had finally found 
enough members to run classes. The short and 
dumpy man, the one who had called out before, 

was holding a bamboo fighting stick. 

“Kawabe!” The middle school students next to 
Bunshichi whispered to each other as the raised 
their cameras. It seems that Kawabe was the name 
of the short and stumpy man. He glimpsed over 
towards Bunshichi. He silently returned the gaze. 
Kawabe took a couple of steps towards Bunshichi. 
It seemed as though Kawabe had taken notice of 
him, who had been standing there with a cold glare 
for a while. 

“You here to join up?” grunted Kawabe. 

“No,” said Bunshichi. He had no intention of 
joining. He didn’t have much interest in pro¬ 
wrestling. He hadn’t even realized that there were 
training halls for pro-wrestlers. He had just been 
walking past, saw people training and decided to 
stop and take a look. He didn’t know that it was a 
training hall for a group ofpro-wrestlers. 

Wrestlers have much more muscle on their bodies 

than you would imagine on a normal person, but 
Bunshichi thought that their fights were nothing but 
one big show. He remembered having reading 
comments from wrestlers that their matches were 
not fixed. The are serious fights, they have real 
muscles... that's what Bunshichi remembers 

[ 082 ] 

But then, if you wanted something serious, the 
same could be said about acrobats up on a circus 
tightrope, as they too are serious and have real 
muscles. Being serious and having muscles were 
just signs of putting on a good show. Bunshichi 
thought the wrestlers bouncing each other off the 
ropes of the wrestling ring was just a waste of 
time. He couldn’t say he was a huge fan of the free 
for all matches where people could use weapons. 
It was juts too ridiculous watching those huge men 

pretend that they were fighting. With that in mind, 
standing here watching reasonably serious practice 
fights took Bunshichi off-guard. Although didn’t 
change his opinion of pro-wrestling. 

Kawabe looked Bunshichi over with an unrelenting 
stare. He moved a little closer. He was shorter 
than Bunshichi, but he was wider around the 
middle. If you were to only see an outline of his 
body, he would probably look obese, but looking 
at him close up you could tell that he was made of 
muscle. It looked like an untrained fist would 
probably bounce right off of him. The fabric of his 
t-shirt, which was wrapped around his muscles, 
had begun to stretch. 

“You're in pretty good shape,” said Kawabe. His 
voice was rough, as if his throat had collapsed. A 
dark spot had formed in Bunshichi’s moss-green t 
shirt from sweat. 

“Beef up a little more and you'd be perfect,” said 

“I was thinking the same thing,” said Bunshichi. He 
stood at 160cm tall and weighed 98kgs. That’s how 
big Bunshichi was back then. 


He still had the body of a 25 year old. It was the 
kind of body that forged through training. He wasn’t 
bulky however. Bunshichi thought that putting on 
my more muscle than necessary would be a waste. 

“Are you in training for something?” asked 

“Karate,” said Bunshichi. 

“Oh, right,” said Kawabe sounding less than 
impressed. It seemed like any interest he had in 
Bunshichi was now gone. Kawabe turned his back 
on Bunshichi. Kawabe didn’t say anything but, 
Bunshichi took that as an insult. 

“Wait just minute,” said Bunshichi. 


“Who is the strongest one here?" 

“You want the strongest?” asked Kawabe, his eyes 
narrowing as he spoke, “they are all about the 
same level, and we are just now trying to see 
who's the strongest.” 

“What about the others?” 


“The older members.” 

“They are all on a provincial tour.” 

“Are they now?” 

“Yeah, the main fighters as well as some of 
openers and the main-eventer. Everyone here is 
either a opener or below”. All the fighters around 
the ring were standing and staring at Bunshichi as 
they caught their breath. They looked as if they 
thought something night happen. 

“Who’s strong?” Bunshichi asked again. 

“Our strongest Toyoo pro-wrestler is our boss, 
right?” said Kawabe as he looked around the 

[ 084 ] 

A few of them had grins on their faces. Kawabe 
was talking about The Great Tatsumi, their ’boss', 
who was the main-eventer. It's not uncommon for 
groups in the wrestling world to have one top 
fighter, or a 'boss' who acts as draw-card to entice 
people to come to matches. When Kawabe said 
that their boss was strong, he was also talking 
about his ability to draw a crowd. Bunshichi, 
however, didn’t quite understand what Kawabe 
was talking about. Bunshichi thought that Kawabe 
might have a few screws loose. 

“Let me take a crack at your strongest wrestler,” 
said Bunshichi. His voice had changed. Bunshichi 
didn’t even think about what he was saying until the 
words had left his mouth. Kawabe looked at 
Bunshichi with an annoyed look on his face. 
“You're here to challenge our Dojo?” 

“That’s right.” 

“Forget it, you'll only get yourself hurt,” said 
Kawabe before turning back again. There was a 
tangible sense of nervousness that came from the 

young wrestlers. 

“We get people like you come by every now and 
then,” said Kawabe. It was the first time Bunshichi 
had heard someone call a training hall for 
wrestlers a Dojo, but then if people were coming 
to challenge the Dojo, then it would have to be 
called a wrestling Dojo. It seemed like Bunshichi 
wasn’t the first to challenge them. The other 
wrestlers look genuinely curious. How far would 
he get? What kind of moves would he use? Would 
Kawabe take him up on his offer? Who would he 
face off against? Bunshichi knew what they were 

Looking around the room, Bunshichi could tell that 
the wrestlers were big, but most of the them looked 
quite young. They all had piercing eyes, even if 
some of the them were still in their teens. 

[ 085 ] 

“You won't know until you let me try” said 
Bunshichi, pursing his lips defiantly. 

“That's what they all say,” said Kawabe as he 
scratched at his neck with the fat index finger of his 
left hand. 

“Well, I guess you can’t have a matches if you don’t 
have a proper ring,” Bunshichi mumbled. 

Kawabe's expression quickly changed. He looked 
at Bunshichi with an intense glare. It was almost as 
if Kawabe's entire body puffed up for a moment. 

He narrowed his eyes, tilted his head down a little 
and looked straight at Bunshichi. 

“You can’t back out,” said Kawabe, slowly and 
quietly, “even if you get down on your knees and 
beg.” Kawabe's voice was getting lower and 
lower as he spoke. 

“I don’t intend to back out.” 

“I don’t want to hear any complaints if you break 
an arm” 

“You wont.” 

“It won’t be my problem if you can't walk home 

because you're so messed up.” 

“That’s fine,” said Bunshichi. Kawabe finally 
nodded his head. Once he lifted his head, Kawabe 
looked straight at Bunshichi. 

“I'm gonna need you to sign an agreement.” 

“Saying that you won't complain if you get your 
arm broken,” said Kawabe. He had a look on face 
that said 'get yourself out of here before you get 
yourself hurt'. Bunshichi faced Kawabe and 
returned his stare. 

“You should probably sign one as well,” said 


“Aren’t you the one that's going to take me on?” 
“No, not me. You’d wind up dead if you took me 

[ 086 ] 

“I thought you'd say that.” 

“Oh really?” 

“It’s the same everywhere I go. Everyone I 
challenge gives me the same answer.” 

66 59 

“They always get one of the younger members to 
stand in for them. They never do it themselves. It's 
always the same thing.” 

Kawabe fell silent for a moment. His lips parted 
slightly as he began to re-think the situation. 

“No, I better not.” 

“Are you going to let the boss take your place?” 
“No, the boss ain’t here. He's not here, but there is 
someone else that might be a good match for you,” 
said Kawabe as he turned and looked behind him, 
“someone get me a pen and some paper.” One of 
the younger members brought over a pad and a 
pencil. Kawabe took the paper and pencil and 
walked over to the side of the ring. He put the pad 
down on the ring and started writing something. 
“Come here,” he called out to Bunshichi once he 
had finished writing. “How does this sound?” 

Bunshichi looked down at the paper sitting on the 
ring. It was laid out quite simply. 

The top line read, ’Agreement’, followed by the 
following passage; 

'I agree that regardless of what may happen in 
today's match, no responsibility will fall on my 

Next to that passage there were spaces for two 
people to sign their names and the date. The 
lettering was quite skillful. 

[ 087 ] 

One of the younger fighters got the ink ready for 
their personal seals. 

“Sign your name and stamp you seal,” said 
Kawabe. Bunshichi took the pencil, signed his 
name and stamped his seal. He wasn’t really sure if 

something like this would stand up in court. 
However, he really had no intention of 
complaining should he lose the fight. He wouldn't 
want his opponent to complain either. Bunshichi 
thought that a contract like this would benefit 

He had watched them train and was impressed at 
their strength. However he didn’t think he would 
lose. Bunshichi was training as well. At least four 
hours a day. He thought that his training was harder 
than theirs. Also, Bunshichi thought, he wasn’t 
putting on a show. He was fighting for real. He 
was confident. He had taken on guys with knives 
more than a few times. He had no intention of 
holding back. If he let his guard down he would 
wind up with a broken arm, 

“Who’s my opponent?” asked Bunshichi. 

“I'm not really sure who to pick. I’ll be able to 
choose a good opponent once I see how good you 
really are. Although anyone would do against you.” 

Kawabe's voice was quiet, all the way to the last 
word. There were probably some people who 
made it this far only to turn around and run home. 
“Go and give that punching bag a kick,” said 

“You trying to see my fighting style?” 

“Were not going to see your fighting style just from 
a couple of kicks to a sand bag. Just give it a kick, 
you don’t have to give it one hundred percent. You 
were looking down on us training, weren't you?” 

[ 088 ] 

“Could you let me get changed first? I can’t really 
move in these clothes. I’ll kick it once I’ve 

“Alright, go get changed in that shower room over 
there.” Kawabe motioned to the shower room next 
to them with his chin. Bunshichi nodded without 
saying anything. He grabbed his bag and walked 
over to the ’shower room’. It was a pretty shabby 

looking shower room. It was in the corner of the 
hall. There was a support beam which had 
tarpaulins to the left and right attached with wires. 
He could hear the sound of running water. 

Someone inside was having a shower. 

“Someone’s already in there,” said Bunshichi. 
“Who’s in there?” Kawabe called out to the young 
man in the showers. 

“It’s me, Kajiwara.” 

“Oh, it's him.” The sound of running water stopped 
as soon as Kawabe spoke. The curtain got pulled 
to the side. A young man, still dripping with water, 
sluggishly stepped out of the shower room. 
Bunshichi felt as though a cliff face made of 
muscle had suddenly appeared before him. He 
stood looking at a man who was even bigger than 
he was. He had small, round, charming eyes. He 
was about the same age as Bunshichi, perhaps a 
little younger. He wasn’t the macho type. His skin 
sagged just a little bit. 

He was completely naked. You could clearly see 
what was hanging from his crotch. He didn’t have 
much hair on his body. His eyelashes were cute 
and lady-like. 


He lowered his eyes a little when his line if vision 
met with Bunshichi's. 

“Hi,” he said in a small voice that came from the 
back of his throat. He turned and grabbed a towel 
that had been hanging from a nail in one of the 
support beams. He wasn’t wearing anything on his 
feet. This would be the first time that Bunshichi 
Tanba and Kajiwara Toshio saw each other. 

Bunshichi turned his head downward and quietly 
entered the shower room, all the while keeping his 
gaze on Kajiwara, who was drying himself off 
The tap stuck out of the wall. There was a blue 
vinyl hose hung from the tap. The hose was pinned 

up on the wall and at the end of the hose is what 
could only be described as the head from a 
watering can, which was kind of like a shower. 
Bunshichi figured that this wrestling club didn’t 
have a lot of money. The ring that Bunshichi was 
looking at now was way below the level of the 
showy wrestling rings he had seen on TV It had 
been built inside a mechanics workshop. The 
shower too. The place still had the smell of oil. 

He looked at the shower. It was the shower that 
Kajiwara had just used. It was still dripping. It 
was a hand made shower. This was the first time 
that Bunshichi got that strange shiver down his 
spine from pro-wrestling. Bunshichi didn’t know 
that east-west pro-wrestling had come about only a 
year ago. The president was a wrestler known as 
the Great Tatsumi, and he had quite the mainstream 
wrestling following and founded east-west pro¬ 
wrestling. It was a federation not linked to any 
television network or broadcasting commission. 

Even Bunshichi knew about Great Tatsumi. 

[ 090 ] 

He could vaguely remember seeing him fight on 
TV But even that was from when the Great Tatsumi 
was still in mainstream wrestling. He wondered if 

Tatsumi used this shower. 

Bunshichi slowly got changed. Once changed he 
left the shower room He was wearing just a loose 
pair of jogging pants with a supporter. Muscles 
bulged all over his body. But it wasn't the fruits of 
body building. They were muscles formed from 
had-to-hand combat, used for fighting. If he did 
start body building, then he would surely bulk up 
even more, with beautifully defined muscles, but 
bodies like those aren’t suited for fighting. His 
body would become rigid and kill his dexterity. 

Bunshichi’s physique was ideal for fighting. 
However, all over his body were marks that only 
could have been left by blades. 

Bunshichi walked, barefoot, over to the punching 
bag. Bam. He hit the bag with his open palm. 

“May I?” he asked. Kawabe nodded. All eyes 
were on Bunshichi. Kajiwara looked over with 
curious eyes as he noticed that something was 
about to happen. He had put on a T shirt and a pair 
of shorts. Bunshichi judged the distance between 
him and the bag, and closed in halfway. He put his 
left foot out first, put his strength into both his 
knees, and held his fists up just in front of his chin. 
He lowered his back a little and built up a fighting 
rhythm with his elbows and stomach before 
suddenly letting his right foot fly. 

There came a heavy thud. The sole of Bunshichi’s 
foot was perfectly stretched and was sitting 
burrowed into the punching bag at a level even 
higher than his head. 

[ 091 ] 

He slowly put his foot back on the ground. That 
kick would have been powerful enough to take a 

small child’s head right off it's body. 

“Hmm,” Kawabe mused to himself, “you know 
how to kick.” When Kawabe said 'kick', he was 
referring to a kick-boxing style of kick. 

“You know about kick-boxing?” 

“Just a little.” 

“I’ve been in the ring a few times.” 

“Very impressive.” 

“Did you think I only did karate?” 

“More or less.” As he spoke, he stared at the young 
men in the room. It looked as if he was sizing up an 
opponent for Bunshichi. “Kajiwara, you can go,” 
he said, spitting his words at the boy. Everyone 
turned around and looked. Kajiwara let everyone 
stare at him, without understanding what was going 


“You're going to fight this guy.” 


“He said that he wanted a 'match'. You're his 

Kajiwara didn’t answer, but was finally able 
to understand what was happening from Kawabe's 
words. He also realized that Bunshichi had come 
to challenge the wrestling club. 

“You saw him kick, didn’t you? I don't want to hear 
any complaints if he kicks you do death,” Kawabe 
said to Kajiwara. 

“OK,” said Kajiwara before turning to face 

[ 092 ] 

There was something in his voice, and his eyes 
were narrow and piercing. His head was tilted 
downwards, but his viper-like eyes stabbed up 
from below at Bunshichi. His wooden sandals 
sounded on the concrete floor as he walked over 

and pulled himself up into the ring with agility. He 
had left his sandals on the floor in front of the ring. 
He was barefoot in the ring. In just his T shirt and 

“Are you ready?” asked Kawabe. 

“Ready,” answered Kajiwara, lowering his vision. 
“He's just right, ain’t he? He's 24 years old. There 
shouldn’t be that much age difference between you. 
He joined when he was 20, and had been training 
for 4 years before that,” said Kawabe. 

“10 years all up,” said Kajiwara from inside the 

“The years before that were full of fights,” said 

“What are the rules?” asked Bunshichi. 

“Right, the rules. No kicks to the balls and no eye 
gouging. That should about do it,” said Kawabe 

“There are no rope-breaks and no ring-outs either,” 
said Bunshichi. 

“No attacking a man when he's down. Just go until 

the other one stops moving or if you don't think you 
can take it anymore.” 

“What about the agreement?” 

“I'll write it in for him” 

“Make sure you write it properly. I don’t want to 
hear any complaints after I win,” said Bunshichi as 
he silently pulled himself up into the ring. 

[ 093 ] 

The ropes vibrated. He took to the center of the 
ring and stared at Kajiwara's face. Snake-like yes 
were looking at Bunshichi from Kajiwara's 
lowered face. When their eyes met, Bunshichi felt 
a shiver run down his spine. Bunshichi couldn’t tell 
if it was a shiver of a fighter, or a shiver of 
something else. His entire body began to burn red 



Kajiwara's body looked smaller than it did in the 
shower room. Bunshichi immediately knew why. It 
was because Kajiwara had been wearing thick 
wooded sandals. He wasn’t wearing them anymore. 
The sandals had made him taller by just a little bit. 
Even so, Bunshichi was taller than Kajiwara. He 
looked to be around 185 or 186 cm tall. He was 
thicker than Bunshichi. His skin was a little loose 
around his waist. It didn’t look as though he had all 
that much muscle on his body. His arms and legs 
looked small compared to his torso. His hair was 

so short it could almost be called a shaved head. 

The bell hadn’t sounded yet. They were just 
standing in the middle of the ring, facing each 
other. Kajiwara had thick, deep lines running 
across his forehead. The skin around it was 
different from the rest of his body. It was like a 
mandarin in the middle of summer. There were and 
uncountable number of dimples on his skin. 
Bunshichi wondered if his head was empty. 

There are some in the Karate world who can break 
tiles with their heads. Smash twenty of them at 
once with a single blow. 


There were some men in Taiwan who hit nails into 
wood with their heads. A hardened forehead could 
do a lot of damage if it is used as a weapon. And 
what else... Bunshichi continued eyeing up 
Kajiwara. He looked at his ears and his nose. Both 

were squashed. His nose had been flattened to one 
side. The cartilage in his nose had been completely 
destroyed and was now more like flesh. It would 
feel like j elly if you poked at it with your finger 
tip. His ears were like pieces of paper that had 
been crumpled up. He would have had to have 
taken a large number of attacks to the ear. 

For a boxer this would have meant that he had poor 
defense, but he was wrestler, so that wasn’t 
necessarily the case. Even if your defense is poor, 
there is a need to ready yourself for unexpectedly 
strong attacks. Either way, everyone has their own 
rhythm. It looked as though Kajiwara wasn't the 
least bit acquainted with Karate or kick-boxing. 
What he needed to be careful of, was his grappling 

There are grappling techniques in Karate and Judo, 
but Bunshichi was unfamiliar with the grappling 
techniques of pro wrestling. There must have been 
different ways to get someone into a hold and 

a PPly pressure that were unique to pro wrestling. It 
also seemed, to Bunshichi, that there would be 
even more grappling moves in pro wrestling than 
in martial arts like Judo. But in order to get 
Bunshichi into a hold, they would have to catch 
him first. If all they do is defend, then there is no 
way they will be able to get anyone into a lock. In 
order to catch Bunshichi they would have to get 
ready to take any number of punches and kicks. 

They both had a chance of winning. If he managed 
to catch him, Kajiwara would have the upper hand. 
But as long as he didn’t catch him, Bunshichi 
would hold the upper hand. He wasn't faking it, but 
when Bunshichi kicked the punching bag before, it 
wasn’t a full strength kick. 


Bunshichi would have been able to get his foot to a 
higher point in less time if he had wanted to. The 
kick he made before was a kick-boxing kick. That 

doesn't mean it was a Muay Thai style kick. 
Bunshichi drew a clear difference between Karate, 
Kick-Boxing and Muay Thai. They are quite 
similar but also have subtle differences. In 
Bunshichi’s mind, Kick-Boxing existed somewhere 
in between Karate and the Thai national martial art 
of Muay Thai. Muay Thai is called Thai Boxing, 
and there are people who think it is the same thing 
as Kick-Boxing, but strictly speaking they should 
be considered separate martial arts. 

Muay Thai is a form of Boxing which allows 
kicks. Much like the Japanese national sport of 
Sumo wrestling, it is a martial art with a long 
history. However it is entirely geared towards 
actual combat. Just as it would be strange to call 
Japanese Sumo wrestlers pro wrestlers, it would 
be strange to refer to Muay Thai as Thai boxing. 
There are aspects which are particular to Muay 
Thai. Muay Thai kicks come up from the inner 

WhenKawabe asked Bunshichi ’If he kicks', he 
was referring more to Karate than Muay Thai. It 
was a kick which flew in a wide arc. If it were a 
Muay Thai kick, the kick would have come from 
the knee and moved straight upwards. The type of 
kick that Bunshichi planned to use in the ring were 
Muay Thai kicks. 


Kajiwara tucked his chin into his chest and stood 
like a pole. He had lowered his face, and his 
scarred forehead was staring straight at Bunshichi. 
Those warm eyes from before had been replaced 
with narrow, staring eyes which glared up from 
under Kajiwara's forehead. They were like the 
eyes of a different person. They were piercing, and 
even more frightening. Those eyes looked like a 
snake that could slither out at any moment. 

The bell finally rang. Neither one moved. They 
stared at one another. Neither of them were close 
enough to make a move. Taking a step forward and 
making a wide kick would close the distance 
between them, but in the time it takes to make the 
attack, the opponent could escape it. Nearly ten 
seconds had passed. Kajiwara slid is right hand up 
over his forehead. He had a cocky smile on his 
lips, the right corner of his mouth bent upwards. 

He slowly began moving to his left. Bunshichi also 
began moving to his right as he raised both hands 
in front of his forehead and gripped them lightly. 
He was using rhythmic footwork. Kajiwara 
followed the left side of his jaw with the back of 
his right hand. Kajiwara jabbed in front of himself 
with his loosely gripped right hand. Bunshichi 
lightly clenched his palm. Kajiwara lightly opened 

Bunshichi suddenly started moving in the opposite 
direction. He raised his right leg up of the canvas 
of the ring. It was a Muay Thai style kick which 
came from the knee. The sole of his right foot, the 
area at the base of his big toe, sunk into Kajiwara's 
stomach. There was a counter. The timing was 

[ 097 ] 

Kajiwara loosened up, lifted his entire body 
upwards and bent backwards. It was just as 
Bunshichi was pulling his foot away from 
Kajiwara's stomach that he felt weird sensation 
corning from the middle of his leg. It felt like what 
he had struck wasn't even human, more like some 
kind of reptile. It was like he had kicked a rubber 
coated cliff edge. It wasn't that hard, but it held 

some kind of odd strength. It seemed to have a 
number of layers. It wasn't made from muscle 
hardened by training. If it were hard, it would have 
deflected the attack with even more force. But the 
muscle that Bunshichi had hit was nothing like that. 
It was the type of muscle Bunshichi had never 
known existed. When he returned his foot to the 
ground, he closed in onKajiwara. Kajiwara 
staggered as he guarded his head with both his 

A succession of hits came flying down from above. 
I have to take him down now thought Bunshichi. 
This may be my one and only change to take 
Kajiwara out. None of his punches directly made 
contact with Kajiwara's head. His defense was 
tight. Bunshichi began to tremble with fear as made 
his punches. He had realized that Kajiwara had 
already recovered from damage of his last kick to 
the stomach. It hadn’t even been three seconds 
since he kicked. 

However, even if he was guarding, we was still 
taking the punches. His head would have been 
taking damage to some extent. Bunshichi could feel 
something strange coming from inside of 
Kajiwara's body. Kajiwara suddenly dipped his 
head downwards. 


An electric jolt ran up Bunshichi’s back. Without 
thinking, he leaned his body backwards and 
brought his right elbow down on Kajiwara's head. 
Kajiwara tackled Bunshichi. Kajiwara's hands 
grazed past Bunshichi's sides. 

He had an elbow lodged in his head, so if his 
speed was anything less than perfect, there would 
be no way that he could bring Bunshichi down into 
a hold. Even if he was unsuccessful in bringing 
Bunshichi down to his knees, the tackle would 
push Bunshichi’s elbow backwards, making the 

blow lose around half of its power. 

But even so... The kick was so powerful that it 
would have caused internal damage to someone 
without a well conditioned mid-section. Even if 
the hit was at half strength, Bunshichi’s blow could 
have caused a concussion. This was all he could 
do, having taken a kick to the stomach and an 
elbow to the back of the head. That was the nature 
of pro wrestling. 

Bunshichi groaned from his stomach. His opponent 
was still just a junior pro wrestler. Bunshichi and 
Kajiwara once again faced each other in the ring. 
Red lines came dripping down fromKajiwara's 
right nostril. It was blood. It trickled down to his 
lips. Kajiwara licked the blood. A wicked smile 
appeared onKajiwara's face. 

“Your face is turning white,” said Kawabe from 
outside the ring. But Bunshichi couldn’t hear him. 
Fear had begun to spread through his body. 


Kajiwara's face was swollen. 


His forehead, cheeks and the area around his eyes 
were bleeding on the inside. His features were a 
mess. He had taken Bunshichi’s fists and feet a 
number of times. He had been knocked over 
countless times, but had gotten back up. He could 
have attacked him from above once he fell, but it 
wasn’t worth it. He would be caught in the attack 
and put into a sleeper hold. Bunshichi was the 
more frightened of the two. 

Bunshichi kicked him over. Again he stood back 
up. Bunshichi kicked him over again. And again he 
got back up to his feet. He still had that smile on 
his face. It was like Kajiwara was amused by 
Bunshichi's kicks. But they weren’t the kicks of an 
amateur. They were the kicks of a pro in the ring. 
Kajiwara wasn’t very good at defending against 
kicks like that. Even so, he was defending to the 
best of his abilities. It was like a bad dream. It 
wasn’t that Kajiwara had been getting an ass- 
kicking the entire time. Bunshichi's left wrist, left 
elbow and right shoulder seared with burning pain. 

When Kajiwara fall to the mat again, he quickly 
propped himself to his feet and stood up with 
unbelievable speed. He mounted Bunshichi from 
the side. A wrestling hold. Bunshichi tried to 
dodge the attack. He couldn’t. Kajiwara pinned 
Bunshichi’s left wrist to the mat and lifted his left 
shoulder up off the mat as if using the power of 
Bunshichi trying to get away against him. 

[ 100 ] 

Bunshichi had no idea what Kajiwara had done. 

He didn’t even know how he managed to get his 
hands around his wrist. He noticed that his arm 
was folded. He was in pain. It was a technique 
called an arm-lock, something Bunshichi had never 
seen before. Bunshichi groaned. He's broken one 
of my bones! Bunshichi thought of himself. A cry 
escaped his mouth. As soon as he did, the pressure 
on him relaxed. Bunshichi crawled away. His left 
hand wasn’t moving. Bunshichi crouched down and 
looked at Kajiwara, blood still trickling down his 
face. His snake-like eyes had vanished, replaced 
with a look of concern. 

Bunshichi kicked him in the face. It was out of fear. 
Kajiwara hit the mat with both of his hands. And 
then a succession of kicks came at him. Bunshichi 
wanted to cry. Don't get up again, he thought to 
himself. Kajiwara didn’t understand why the hand 
of Bunshichi's attacks were shaking. Kajiwara 

rolled across the mat. He left the ring. Kawabe 
wrapped a large towel around him 

“C’mon, don't give up yet,” he said. It was an 
unbelievable sight. Kajiwara was wrapped in a 
towel and looking up at Bunshichi. Kajiwara's T- 
shirt and shorts were splattered with blood. 
Kajiwara wiped his hands an the towel before 
getting back up into the ring. 

[ 101 ] 

He had that viper-like look in his eyes again. He 
spat onto the ring. The glob of red landed on the 
blue tarp right in front of Bunshichi’s feet. There 
was white inside the red as well. They were 
fragments of Kajiwara's teeth. Kajiwara slowly 
pulled himself into the ring by the ropes. Rings for 
pro wrestling have three ropes. They don't have 
four ropes like pro boxing rings. The ropes are 
surprisingly rigid. They are just wire ropes 
wrapped in rubber. Kajiwara stood with his back 

leaning on the ropes. Kajiwara sniggered. One of 
his front teeth was missing. And then, Bunshichi's 
nightmare began again. 

Bunshichi was more or less fighting with only his 
right arm. The next time Kajiwara got Bunshichi to 
the ground was when he took one of Bunshichi's 
kicks to the abdomen. He wrapped his arm around 
Bunshichi’s left leg, which had hit him. He grabbed 
Bunshichi by the ankle and brought him down on to 
the mat. When he fell to the mat, Bunshichi’s left 
leg was being held not by Kajiwara's left arm, but 
by his right one. Keeping that pose, Kajiwara 
crammed Bunshichi’s left leg between both of his 

He began to twist his arm. A sound came from his 
left ankle. At the same time as the sound, 
psychological pain came over Bunshichi. No, no, 
this isn’t happening. It felt like someone had struck 
him over his ankles with a steel pole. 

[ 102 ] 

Bunshichi could hear a sound corning out of his 
throat. It wasn’t the sound of him exhaling, rather 
the sound of him inhaling. He had no air left in his 
lungs. He was being strangled, and along with the 
blocked up noise, the air had been pushed out of 
his lungs. He had locked his Achilles tendon. 
Bunshichi gritted his teeth. With his right leg, 
which was free, he tried to kick Kajiwara in the 
head. Kajiwara easily deflected the attack. His 
body got rolled over onto the same side which was 

Once he was rolled over he lay face down. 
Bunshichi was unable to move in that position, 
being face down. Kajiwara now had Bunshichi in a 
different hold than before. He had folded his knees 
and locked his ankles together. Bunshichi’s left 
ankle was wedged in the fold of his right knee. 
Bunshichi could feel Kajiwara had his right foot 

between his thighs. Underneath Kajiwara's right 
foot was Bunshichi's right ankle. 

“Snap it!” came a voice. Bunshichi didn't know 
whose voice it was. Bunshichi lifted his body up 
with his elbows. Liquid started to drip down and 
make a sound on the mat below him He was 
sweating. There was also a lot of dirty red stains. 
They were dried-up blood stains. The canvas had 
not absorbed the blood which had fallen on it up 
until now, it had left it there. He raised his head. 
The world bathing in the blinding light of the sun 
lay before his eyes. Right in front of his nose. The 
two junior high school students from before were 
standing with their cameras. 

“The Indian Death Lock!” 

[ 103 ] 

One of the junior high students blurted out. 
Bunshichi could hear them talking, but couldn’t 

make out exactly what they were saying. 

“No, He's got him in an upper reverse,” said the 
other student, “It’s a move made up by some 


“.you know?” 

It seemed like the pair were talking about the hold 
that Bunshichi was in. 

Bunshichi made a gritty sound with his teeth. He 
glared forward. Something wrapped itself around 
his chin. Whatever it was jerked his head upwards 
He thought he was about to make a noise, but 
nothing came out. It felt like his collarbone and his 
spine were creaking. The sound got further and 
further away. He realized that the thing which was 
wrapped under his chin was Kajiwara’s hand. But 
he couldn’t figure out why his hand was placed 

He left his shoulder on the mat and with his right 

hand tried to remove Kajiwara's grip from under 
his chin. In that instant he felt a separate pressure 
on his neck. The force was twisting his neck. Thick 
veins began to form on Bunshichi's head. He tried 
in vain to twist his head in the other direction. And 
then he saw it. Kajiwara's face was looking 
straight at him from his right hand side. His head, 
or rather his cheek, was on the mat. He was moved 
back to the side the tips of both his feet as well as 
his forehead were supporting his weight, he lifted 
his body off the mat and formed and arch in his 

[ 104 ] 

His ankle was still held in place. Kajiwara's neck 
was unguarded. The sound ofKajiwara's labored 
breathing echoed in Bunshichi's ear. Bunshichi 
turned his right hand up. He brought the edge of his 
hand down on the back ofKajiwara's neck. It was 
a weak attack as Bunshichi could only use the 
power from his elbow. But it seemed to have some 

effect. He had broken Kajiwara's bridge. The 
power wrapped around his jaw dissipated. 
Bunshichi jerked his ankle away and crawled 
away on his elbows. He shook free his other ankle. 
His left hand had broken the hold from before with 
just the power of his upper arm. He had put a 
number of scratches on the mat with his elbows. 

He had gotten out of the hold. 

He opened his palms and tried to stand. He had no 
power in his ankles. Right in front of his eyes, he 
saw Kajiwara grab at his throat. He moved up to 
his knees and advanced on Bunshichi. At any rate, 
he knew that he needed to stop this man from 
moving. He lunged at Kajiwara from his kneeling 
position and mounted his right elbow into 
Kajiwara's body. Bunshichi put the entire force of 
his body behind his elbow and brought it down on 
Kajiwara's nose. Kajiwara's head turned away 
from the attack pitifully. Bunshichi’s elbow had 
grazed Kajiwara's cheek and hit the mat. There 
was red left on the canvas after Bunshichi pulled 

his elbow away. 

He used the same elbow to pull himself across the 
mat as he had used to pull himself up beforehand. 

[ 105 ] 

The skin on his elbow had split from the last 
attack. The canvas floor of the ring was like 
sandpaper. It looked as though it had been created 
for fights, but beneath it lay steel bones. Above 
those steel bones lay wooden boards and on top of 
those lay the thick mat of the ring with the tarpaulin 
draped over it. At a glance, it looked just as soft, 
but the damage a fighter took when falling on the 
areas above the steel poles, and the area not above 
them, was very different. It seemed that Bunshichi's 
elbow had hit the area above a steel bar. Even if he 
hadn’t hit a spot above a steel pole, his skin was 
torn. If it were someone who wasn't trained, getting 
body slammed on the back would have been 
enough to peel the skin. 

Kajiwara tried to get back up. He got up to his 
knees and Bunshichi smacked him back down with 
his elbow. It hit him in the forehead. It was like 
being hit with a cliff face. Kajiwara went back 
down to his knees. His face was covered in blood. 
But there still was a smile on that face. 

Bunshichi, like a madman, struck at Kajiwara with 
his right and left elbows. It was like hitting a cliff 
face that was bound in raw rubber. Kajiwara was 
tougher that Bunshichi imagined. His elbows cut 
through the air. Bunshichi sunk his elbows into 
Kajiwara's head from a kneeling position. 
Suddenly something smothered his head. The 
amazing attack hit Bunshichi in the face. There 
came a sound, pa-chi. He didn't know where the 
sound came from. It was the sound of the cartilage 
in his nose cracking. 

[ 106 ] 

It was a head-butt. A pain, like being stabbed with 
needles, shot up from his nose to his eyes. 
Bunshichi only just managed to block the next 
head-butt with both of his elbows. A warm liquid 
flowed from his nose down to his throat. Even if he 
closed his mouth, there was still plenty of liquid 
inside. He spat it out. A large amount of blood 
stained the backs of his arms he was blocking with. 

He tried to get up. His left wrist was grabbed as he 
tried to prop himself up on his left knee. It pulled 
with great force. It hurt like hell. He didn’t try to 
counter the force that was pulling him and he let it 
pull him to his feet. He kicked with his right leg. A 
hit anywhere would be good. At any rate he had to 
get Kajiwara to let go of his wrist. It felt like his 
wrist was about to snap. 

His knee hit Kajiwara's stomach. But Kajiwara 
didn’t let go if his wrist. Kajiwara pulled 
Bunshichi’s wrist and fell backwards. Bunshichi 

fell on top of him. Kajiwara flipped his body over 
so he was face-down and held Bunshichi’s wrist to 
his stomach. Bunshichi again stuck his knees into 
the mat trying to get away. Kajiwara slipped his 
leg in between Bunshichi’s legs. He tried to roll 
Bunshichi over to the side. Bunshichi struck 
Kajiwara in the back of his head with his elbow. 

He struck him over and over again. 

Kajiwara let go of Bunshichi's wrist. Bunshichi 
scrambled to his feet. There was extreme pain 
coming from his left ankle. He kicked with his right 
foot and fell backwards. 

[ 107 ] 

He saw Kajiwara. Thin lines of blood formed in 
Bunshichi’s vision. Kajiwara slowly rose to his 
feet. His face was a mess. Bunshichi's face wasn’t 
much better. Kajiwara still had that wicked grin 
spread across his lips. Bunshichi was wondering if 

they would continue. Continue this fight. He had no 
idea how many minutes had passed since the fight 
began. It felt like that had been fighting for over an 
hour. It had started to get to him mentally. 

He was surprised a junior pro wrestler was able to 
last this long. He wondered what Kajiwara was 
made out of. He started to re-focus himself. Was 
this guy special? Or maybe every wrestler is this 
tough. Maybe I’m just weak. He wanted to sit 
down. But there was no way he could sit down. He 
tried the best he could to stay focused. He forced a 
smile on to his face. He wanted to look in a mirror 
to see if he really was smiling, but that thought 
soon flew out of his head. 

“Thirteen minutes...” came Kawabe's voice form 
the side. He spoke as if he was quite surprised the 
fight had lasted this long. “Well, I guess now the 
real fight begins.” Bunshichi wanted to say 
something to Kawabe, but nothing came out. 
Because Kajiwara had faced him and come at him 

with an attack. 


[ 108 ] 

Why? Thought Bunshichi. Why didn’t Kajiwara 
break my arm? Not just his arm His shoulder, 
wrist, ankle. He had four chances to break those 
joints. Now having a breather. If he had put any 
more strength into his attack, that fight would have 
been decided in an instant. They had an agreement. 
Regardless of weather it was legally binding, they 
both agreed not to complain if they got am arm 
broken. Although even if they didn’t sign it, 
Bunshichi had no intention of laying a complaint. 

But every time Kajiwara had Bunshichi in a hold, 

he let him go. Bunshichi had decided that he would 
only tap out if he got his arm broken. That’s why he 
didn’t tap out when he was in a hold and gasping 
for air. Kajiwara released his hold on Bunshichi 
just before his bone would have broken. Bunshichi 
couldn’t understand why. It seemed like Kajiwara 
just couldn’t bring himself to break someone's arm 
Bunshichi thought that Kajiwara was hoping that he 
would tap out early. Bunshichi almost wanted to 
tell Kajiwara to just hurry up and break his arm It 
would only be a moment of pain. 

He wondered how much more pain he would have 
to endure. Kajiwara was persistent. 

[ 109 ] 

Kajiwara only aimed for his joints. He hadn’t seen 
any of the drop kicks or bouncing off the ropes of 
the ring like he had seen on TV He kept going for 
the joints, as if that other stuff was no fun at all. He 
had snake-eyes whenever he went to grab 

Bunshichi by the joints. That smirk was still on his 
face. It was like a nightmare. He wanted to match 
to finish. If he just said the words "I’m out!" the 
fight would probably be over in an instant. But he 
wasn’t sure if he would be able to make it all the 
way home after that. He had bragged. Kawabe 
might jump in the ring and break his arm in place 
of Kajiwara. 

Even if that didn’t happen, his body was a mess. 
But he couldn’t let words of defeat leave his mouth. 
That was the only thing keeping Bunshichi in the 
fight. Why won’t Kajiwara break my arm? 
Bunshichi wondered. Regardless of the reason, the 
fight wouldn’t be over until his arm was broken. 
And even if it did get broken, he would have to tap 
out to end the fight. But then even if he didn’t admit 
defeat, he would probably be thrown out. 

Bunshichi was fighting with willpower alone. His 
left and right arms weren’t working. They hurt like 
hell every time he tried to move them. He fighting 

that pain. He wondered if the kicks he hard learned 
in Karate could be used in a situation like this. His 
opponent was probably too tough. 

Bunshichi was thinking about how many decent 
kicks he could get in. Though maybe he didn’t have 
any decent kicks left in him. Kicking with his right 
or left leg would do about the same amount of 
damage, and it would put strain on his already 
hurting left leg. 

[ 110 ] 

Physical strength was the only thing left to support 
him after all. He was losing the source of his 
strength. He could hear Kajiwara's labored 
breathing. All he could do now was rely on 
counters, attacks that use the opponents strength 
against themselves. 

It was not as if Kajiwara was uninjured. He looked 

a lot like Bunshichi. Bunshichi moved to the right 
and readied his fists. You couldn’t call it foot 
work. It was like his fists belonged to someone 
else. They were as heavy as lead. He didn’t have 
enough strength in his arms to support his fists. 
Kajiwara moved in the same direction. He crossed 
his legs and lowered his guarding stance. Kajiwara 
moved. This was his chance. Bunshichi had invited 
him by crossing his legs. His left leg hurt like hell 
as he kicked as closely as he could with his right 
foot. He put the last of his strength into his foot. 

His foot sunk into Kajiwara's stomach. He felt as if 
he had put a hole in that cliff face bound in rubber. 
It felt as if he had s u nk his foot into Kajiwara right 
down to the ankle. He won. Or so he thought. 

Something shot up his back. It seemed like it could 
be a cry of joy. However he couldn't let his guard 
down. He followed up the kick by planting his 
knee in Kajiwara's face. His hands answered 
straight away. Kajiwara wrapped his arms around 
Bunshichi’s leg. He felt something lukewarm on his 

knee. It was the slippery, sweaty calf muscle of 
Kajiwara. Kajiwara twisted Bunshichi’s knee. 


Kajiwara had thrown up. His sick was filled with 
blood. A sour smell filled his nose. Bunshichi 
brought his hands and elbows down on the back of 
Kajiwara's head, not caring where the blows 
would land. He put the last pieces of his remaining 
strength into those attacks. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. And 
hit. Kajiwara's forehead slipped down from 
Bunshichi’s left knee. The smile had disappeared 
from his face. Had he win? He was about to give a 
sigh of relief. Just when a feeling of relief washed 
over Bunshichi’s body it happened. 

Kajiwara's body slithered around. He then 
disappeared from sight. He was suddenly behind 
Bunshichi’s back. He couldn’t believe it. How 
could he have that much energy left? Bunshichi felt 

his body get lifted off the ground. Fear shot through 
his body as he felt it himself being lifted up into the 

Kajiwara used both arms to grab Bunshichi around 
the torso from behind. Bunshichi felt weightless for 
a moment. Then he fell backwards, head first onto 
the mat. Bunshichi could feel the speed at which he 
fell. Bunshichi's body made a clean arc and the 
back of his head struck the mat of the ring. The sky 
and the ground were flipped. The move was 

[ 112 ] 

Gravity returned. Bunshichi’s body couldn’t turn 
over against gravity. A German suplex. That was 
the name of the wrestling move Kajiwara had just 
used on Bunshichi. He didn’t even have enough 
time to ask who won. It wasn’t a three count 
victory. He had sat up at some point having been in 
a daze. Kajiwara had his left hand on Bunshichi’s 

left shoulder from behind. Kajiwara had his right 
hand wrapped around Bunshichi's face from 
behind. It looked like he was going to pull 
Bunshichi’s head clean off. 

Bunshichi’s left hand was held behind his back. 
Bunshichi no longer had enough strength to fight 
back. His neck and shoulder hurt like nothing he 
had ever felt before. The pain had brought him 
back to life. Sound escaped his mouth. Because 
there was so much pressure on his neck, the sound 
which escaped sounded like the cries of a animal 
about to be killed. 

"Don’t you let him go!" yelled Kawabe. 

"Kajiwara" the name pierced his head like a 
needle as it throbbed with pain. 

Am I going to die? Thought Bunshichi. He no 
strength left. A cracking sound came from his 
shoulder. That's when it happened. A shiver 
scattered through Kajiwara's body. The force 

holding Bunshichi disappeared. 

[ 013 ] 

Bunshichi fell flat on the mat. He knew that he 
couldn’t move any more. He knew that he had lost. 
He closed his eyes. 

When he realized that he had lost, tears fell from 
his eyes. There had been significant damage done 
to the joints in and around his shoulder. A number 
of people climbed into the ring and Bunshichi felt 
hands on his back. The pulled him up. He looked 
around in a daze for Kajiwara. 

“You idiot!” came a voice from behind him. It was 
Kawabe. His voice was sharp and piercing. The 
sound of flesh hitting flesh rang out. Bunshichi 
twisted his head around and looked behind 
himself. Kawabe was hitting Kajiwara. He was 
really smacking him about. Kajiwara stood there 
and took the blows. 

“I’m sorry,” said Kajiwara as Kawabe's had went 
flying towards his face. It was unbelievable. 
“WHY!?” Kawabe said, the anger in his voice 
rising. He was really mad. “Why didn’t you do in 
his shoulder or his arms?” Kawabe hit Kajiwara 
again. He was fierce. Kawabe was asking 
Kajiwara, who won, why he didn’t break 
Bunshichi’s arm Kawabe hit Kajiwara again. It 
seemed as though the fact that Bunshichi was still 
there had left the minds of both Kawabe and 
Kajiwara. The tears in Bunshichi’s eyes quickly 
dried up as soon as he laid his eyes on the pair. 
Bunshichi felt humiliated. There was a black, dark 
fire. He felt hate build up for Kajiwara, who 
wouldn’t look back in his direction. It was a bitter 
hate that filled Bunshichi's stomach. 

That is what happened one hot summer's day, six 
years ago. 


[ 114 ] 

“Why are you being so quiet?” asked Ryoji. 
Bunshichi had fallen silent as they watched the live 
hook-up broadcast of the pro wrestling match The 
sake cup he held in his right hand had cracked. The 
sake inside had slowly leaked out, run through his 
fingers, down his arm and on to the counter top. 

His elbows, which he had rolled his sleeves up to, 
were soaked. 

“They had the title taken form them back in 
America,” said the American announcer. 

“That they did,” said the commentator, Kawabe, 
naming the city and the name of a local title. 

“Will it be today? A defending match against the 
former champion...” 

“Indeed. If he can defend the title, he will be able 

to go back to America with the belt.” 

The screen changed over. The ceremony before the 
main event was being held. The commissioner was 
calling out the name of the title. Both the announcer 
and Kawabe's voices spoke over the screen. The 
screen changed for a second. It changed over to 
man with his fist held high up in the air and the 
champion belt wrapped around his middle. 

[ 115 ] 

That man raised his chin in the air and looked 
down over the crowd. It was Kajiwara. He had 
that snake-like look on his face. Compared to how 
he was six years ago, he seemed to have grown as 
a person. He would have turned thirty this year. 

The screen quickly turned back to where it was 
before. Neither the screen nor the announcers 
words made it to Bunshichi’s eyes or ears. He 
drank the remaining sake in one swig while glaring 
at the TV screen. The long forgotten pain from his 

shoulders and necks flared up. 

The chicken wing face lock. That was the name of 
the move that Kajiwara had put on Bunshichi six 
summers ago. And he had used it on Izumi 

“Let's go,” mumbled Bunshichi as he rose from his 
seat. He grabbed his jacket from under the counter 
and picked his bag up off the floor. He pulled some 
money from his pocket and left it on the counter. 
“Bro...” Ryoji called out after him, “at least get 
your change.” Bunshichi was already out the door. 
He pulled his jacket over himself and began 
walking away. Cold wind blew right on the front of 
Bunshichi’s massive body. His body was now a lot 
bigger than it was six years before. His height 
hadn’t changed, but he had put on a lot of weight. 

He was over 100kg. His chest was really thick. 

[ 116 ] 

His shoulders were much wider than those around 
him. There was a kind of energy that radiated from 
his body into the night air. He could hear footsteps 
coming from behind him. Ryoji had come 
following after Bunshichi. 

“That’s cold, man, just walking out of there without 
me,” said Ryoji. He walked up beside Bunshichi. 

I was about the same, thought Bunshichi. Bunshichi 
was about Ryoji's age when he first met a named 

“What are you thinking about?” asked Ryoji. He 
was bored. 

“About someone I know,” said Bunshichi 
“Someone you know?” 

“I was about your age when I first met him. I was 
such a smart ass.” 


“I was always getting into fights, everyday. I 
would never lose in a one-on-one fight. I thought 
that being strong would lead me to greatness. If I 
heard that someone was stronger than me, I would 

purposely go and try to fight them.” 

66 55 

“One of those people I tried to fight was Saito.” 
“Did you win?” 

“I lost. I got a real beating, left me in pieces. Even 
though he was smaller than me. He was doing 

66 55 

“So I lost, but I actually felt refreshed. I trained 
under him as a student. I started going to the Karate 
dojo which he ran. 

“So, what about that guy?” 

[ 117 ] 

Bunshichi fell silent when Ryoji asked him that 
question. He put his hands in his pockets and took 
a few steps forward. 

“He's dead.” 


“Yeah. He got into a fight with a gang member and 
got his throat slit.” 

Bunshichi suddenly remembered the night that 
happened. When Takimoto turned to face him, knife 
in hand. When he pissed himself and ran. He had 
intended to escape. Even now Bunshichi thought 
so. He didn’t know what he was running from His 
muscles cracked in his body, as if something fierce 
was about to crawl out of his body. That's what he 
was running from. 




Takimoto just happened to be in the direction he 
was running. He ran straight into him. His left arm 
hurt badly. Takimoto had turned around. A knife 
stuck up out of his left arm He screamed and 
pulled it out. Takimoto struck Bunshichi just as he 
was about to run away. It was like punching a 
sandbag. Cheek. Chin. Stomach. Nose. Cheek. 
Cheek. Nose. And then the kicks came. His left 
arm went numb. 

He fought. He fought, but was the same a Saito. 

The Karate techniques that he had learned wouldn't 
come out. 

[ 118 ] 

He lost all train of thought as he fought. The energy 
he had built up to run away was now being spent 
on fighting. He started to hit more than he had been 
getting hit. He could feel his opponents attack 
becoming less frequent, and his strength was 
dwindling as well. Bunshichi felt like he got a new 

burst of energy every time he landed a hit. A 
sudden electric rush shot up his spine with the first 
hit. Then two more rushes the second time. It was a 
sensation he had never felt before. 

The sensation rose from within his body. When he 
had seen the blood build up below Saito's chin, 
something inside of him connected itself, like 
wires on a circuit board. The sensation that ran 
through his body came from that circuit board and 
spilled out into his muscles. 

Once he had realized what he was doing, Takimoto 
lay rolled over on his side next to Saito's like a 
piece of discarded garbage. That was when 
Bunshichi knew the path his life would take. 

“What did some gang-banger cut his throat for?” 
Ryoji said to Bunshichi as he walked in silence. 
Bunshichi didn’t answer. He knew he had already 
said too much. He had spoken too much about the 
past. It was probably because he saw Kajiwara. 

Since that day that Saito died until today, the only 
person he had ever lost to was Kajiwara. 

He had taken on opponents who were stronger than 
him in the past. He had hit them all with surprise 
attacks and left them crawling across the floor. He 
had faced off against Souichiro, who had told him, 
“I heard you fight dirty”. There had been a lot of 
things that impressed him about fighting Souichiro. 

[ 119 ] 

First was wrestlers being able to hit with inhuman 
strength. Next was their pulling power, which was 
even more than their pushing power. Turning to 
face one another and having a hand wrap itself 
around his neck, but it was like a steel arm had 
pulled his neck back. And the strength of the neck 
was different to that of a someone who boxes or 
does Karate. The strength of one's neck is 
determined by how much damage one can negate to 

the neck. On top of that, it is determined by how 
well one can used their neck as a point of support 
when grappled to change their body position. 

How on earth does one train their body for such 
strength? That’s something everyone has to figure 
out on their own. The training of a wrestler begins 
with building strength, taking hits and being thrown 
around the ring. Fighting moves come after that. 
Bunshichi had worked on his attacks, movement 
and joints. Fighters of course have to temper 
themselves against attacks, meaning that they have 
to build a body that can take an attack even better 
than it can make them. Bunshichi had, in order to 
fight, trained his body, but not as thoroughly as a 

Wrestlers can have up to 200 bouts in a year. 
Certain overseas wrestlers have over 365 fights in 
a single year. This means that there are days when 
they have more than one fight. Forgetting about 
things like fixed matches, scripted fights of 

showmanship, that's still breaking through the 
barrier into greatness. There is no other sport 
which takes such a physical toll on the body. 

[ 120 ] 

Even compared to other martial arts, there is a 
difference in the amount of actual fights. Bunshichi 
hadn’t realized that the number of fights were 
simply that high as wrestling had become so 
commercial. There is also no other martial art 
which has had as much research as grappling. 

Bunshichi was thinking about the power exerted in 
the five minutes between him and Kajiwara six 
years ago. Even with all the attacks, the kicks and 
the fists, the difference in grappling, it was really 
only five minutes. What was the most different? 
That was probably endurance and the speed of 
recovery from when they were hit. The strength of 
their muscles against attacks was the deciding 

factor in that fight. 

When Kajiwara saw Bunshichi’s body and 
swallowed, thinking that he needed to bulk up, was 
one year later. At the time, Bunshichi only had the 
build for making attacks. The larger a fighters 
muscles are, the more damage they are able to take. 
And in turn the amount of damage which the 
opponent takes increases. However, bulking up too 
much decreases speed. It makes you wonder where 
the right balance lies. 

The right balance is different for everyone, and to 
get down to brass tacks, there is a need to change 
the balance depending on your opponent. Ever 
since losing to Kajiwara, Bunshichi had been 
thoroughly conditioning his body. He had spent a 
lot of time learning to grapple. The more he 
understood about grappling, the more the 
understood how much more there was to learn. 
Even grappling with the shoulders and elbows had 
a proper method, a course to follow. You start with 

the wrists, then go on to the elbows and shoulders. 
But that simple method had a very tight logic 
behind it. They are rules based on logic and in- 
depth knowledge of the structure of the human 

[ 121 ] 

The grappling moves which enable to you to move 
from one grapple to the next, or to free yourself 
from a grapple and counter with another one, are 
also clearly defined. On top of that, new grappling 
techniques are always being researched and 
developed. The effect of a grapple can be changed 
by something as small as the position of the elbow 
of the direction a finger is curved. By mere 
millimeters. Grapples that rely on a person's 
weight, or their 'pulling power', reach the realms 
of science. 

Bunshichi thought about Kajiwara. He was a 

mysterious man. In the moment he had turned to 
face the fight, his wide, gentle eyes change 
completely. They became those narrow, snake- 
eyes. During the entire fight, his lips were pursed 
into an evil grin. He was like that from the start. 
Even when he was knocked down and covered in 
blood, the smile remained on his face. 

Even though he had aimed for Bunshichi's joints 
throughout the fight, he was unable to break any of 
his bones. There was no point. He was a strong 
man. Bunshichi couldn’t believe that he was one of 
the junior wrestlers. That Kajiwara will return. 
Bunshichi looked as though he had remembered 
Kajiwara's face. How much had changed? Not only 
had Bunshichi changed, but Kajiwara had probably 
changed as well. 

Bunshichi wondered where he was going. The 
streets were dark. It was an asphalt road lined with 
street lights. The lights of a car pulled Bunshichi 
and Ryoji out of the darkness as it drove past. 

[ 122 ] 

Bunshichi pulled his shoulders up around himself 
as he walked. His blood was boiling. It was 
boiling hot and showed no signs of cooling. He 
asked himself if he still hated that man. He didn’t 
have the answer. But when he though about that 
man, he remembered his blood coming to a boil. 
He thought that in sense, he actually liked that man. 
But he had to ask himself. Did he really want to 
become like him? 

“Bro, what's the problem?” asked Ryoji. Bunshichi 
kept his eyes ahead and kept walking. 

“Let's go,” mumbled Bunshichi. He mumbled those 
words to himself, not to Ryoji. They were the same 
words he used when they left the bar. 

“Where are we going?” 

“Tokyo,” Bunshichi said with a heavy tone. His 
eyes still fell on the darkness ahead. It was a deep 



“Tokyo.” said Bunshichi. It didn’t really matter 
how far they had to go, somewhere in that 
darkness, that man, Kajiwara, would be there. 


[ 123 ] 


He was a quiet man, like a cliff. Every part of his 
body was thick. His head, neck, shoulders, chest, 
stomach legs, hands and fingers were all fat. His 
shoulders were fat. His eyes were fat. His nose 

was fat. His lips were fat. The dull light that shone 
from his eyes, was fat. The voice that escaped his 
lips, was fat. 

The one on making himself comfortable on the 
sofa, held himself as a man with incredible 
strength. He was there. He wasn’t a large man, but 
he wasn’t a small man either. He was around 177 
cm tall. A serious attitude radiated from him and 
hung in the air. 

He had a soft smile and a devilish look 
occasionally flashed across his eyes. Matsuo 
Shozan. That was his name. He was a hero to those 
training in Karate all around Japan - no, all around 
the world. He was the head instructor of the 
Hokushinkan Karate Dojo. 

The Dojos overseas under his name were in the 
hundreds. Including his schools in Japan, there 
would be at least 55,000 student in total. 


And it was all thanks to Matsuo Shozan. He was in 
the Dojo master's room at the Hokushinkan main 
Karate Dojo inlkebukuro, Tokyo. It was a simple 
room. There was a huge wooden desk over by the 
window. It was a sturdy desk. Made from 
mahogany. That desk was probably the most 
expensive thing in the room. There were 
photographs looking down from the wall. One was 
a photo of Matsuo Shozan fighting a bull when he 
was in his late 20’s. It was taken the precise 
moment he brought the edge of his fist down on the 
bull and broke it's horn. It was black and white. 
The bull, which had jumped into the air, was right 
in the middle of the photo. 

The rug on the floor wasn't especially expensive. 
The amount of ornaments was surprisingly small. 

There was a book shelf near the far wall, with a 
lounge set sitting in front of it. They only had things 
they needed in places they need them. When 
looking at the desk, the sofa and the rug, one could 
see straight away they they weren’t part of the same 
lounge suite, but somehow, in this room, they all 
seemed to go together. 

Matsuo Shozan sat on the sofa listing to another 
man speaking. The man talking to Shozan had a fine 
featured face, and was a little taller than Shozan, 
but not as thick. He had a fair complexion. His 
finely-kept hair fell down to his shoulders. At a 
first glance, he could be mistaken for a woman, but 
of course he wasn't. 


He was wearing a black suit. His lips, which were 
overly red for a man, along with his white skin and 
black suit were crisp. It was Himekawa. You could 

see the muscles from underneath the fabric of his 
suit. Shozan had the fingers of both his hands 
wedged into this knees. They were fat fingers. His 
fists looked heavy, like weapons. They were 
fingers that had taken on international Karate 
masters and martial artists, had had beaten them 
down. They were bare hands that could kill a man. 

“So, Izumi is saying that he doesn’t need a visit.” 
“Yes.” Himekawa nodded. 

“Well, if the doctor says that there is no no need to 
worry, then there isn't. That man had balls taking 
on Izumi Souichiro.” 

“Tanba Bunshichi.” 

“Never heard the name before now.” 

“Yes, I suppose you haven’t heard his name before, 
but I have heard a lot of rumors about him.” 

“Oh really?” 

“He's been going around all kinds of martial arts 
school and picking fights.” 

“Challenging Dojos, eh.” 

“Nobody wants to take him on, but those who do, 

every last one of them, have been beaten.” 

“Huh,” Shozan untangled his fingers and crossed 
his fat arms. 

“I had happened to hear some of these rumors in 
passing, but the first time I met him was the match 
between him and Mr. Izumi.” 

[ 126 ] 

“So you saw him fight?” 

“He's a very capable man.” 

“I wonder if he's going to try and challenge one of 
my Dojos.” 

“Well, he hasn’t yet. If he had, you would have 
been the first to know.” 

“While we’re on the subject.” 


“The head of our Fukuoka Dojo, Mr. Kawaguchi.” 
“What about Mr. Kawaguchi?” 

“I heard that he got injured and is laid up in 

“I see.” 

“It seems the cause of those injuries was being 
beaten by someone.” 


“There's a rumor that he faced of against someone 

in the Dojo and got beaten.” 


“There are only three people other than the head of 
the Dojo who know about it.” 

“I see. If the head of one of our Hokushinkan 
Dojos, which focus on full contact Karate loses to 
a challenger, then that puts our reputation in 

“Tanba Bunshichi...” mumbled Shozan. 

“You mean the one who beat Kawaguchi was 

“I can't say for sure. But after hearing you talk 

about him, I wonder...” 

66 11 

“It seems a mysterious man has appeared on the 


“There's a man out there doing all the things I did 
when I was a young man. He won't stop...” burning 
light flashed for a moment in Shozan's eyes. “I 
wonder...” he said, flashing Himekawa with the 
light from his eyes. 

“You wonder?” 

“I wonder who would win in a match between you 
and that Tanba...” 

Himekawa took in the glare form Shozan's eyes 

“That’s difficult to say.” 

“Saying is the easy part.” 

“I really don't think I could win.” 

“You wouldn’t win?” 

“No,” said Himekawa before lowering his head 
towards Shozan. “But I don’t think I would lose, 

“Oh really?” 

“That much is certain,” said Himekawa. Shozan 
unfolded his arms and looked at Himekawa. His 
eyes looked as if they had just discovered 
something new and interesting. 

“I don’t hear that often.” 

“You said you wouldn’t win.” 

“Yes.” A thick smile formed on Shozan's face as he 
listened to Himekawa. 

“Well that's no good.” 


“Are you saying that I should be the one to take him 
on?” said Shozan, laughing a thick laugh, “I would 
like to get him into one of our tournaments.” 

“That would be quite the spectacle.” 

“I wonder of he could pull off an unexpected 


“By the way, Himekawa, you were saying that 
Tanba uses some odd techniques.” 

“He used moves I had never seen before.” 

“Can you remember what they were?” 

“Yes.” Shozan rose to his feet as Himekawa 
answered him. 

[ 128 ] 

It looked as if a quiet cliff face had began to move. 

“Can you try some of his moves on me?” 

“I'll give it a try,” said Himekawa as he too rose to 
his feet. 

He slowly moved behind Shozan and with his left 
arm and locked Shozan's left arm behind his back. 
He wrapped his right arm around Shozan's face 
from the side. He then locked Shozan's right arm 
near his left shoulder with his right hand, and 
connected it with his left hand. 

“I think it was like this,” said Himekawa before 
releasing his grip. 

“Interesting,” mumbled Shozan as he regained his 

“Do you know this move, it's called the-” 

“The Chicken Wing Face Lock.” 

“I think Tanba said that's what someone else was 
calling it, and 

“What else did he say about it?” 

“He said that he saw it on TV” Shozan burst out 
laughing as soon as Himekawa finished speaking. 

“What's the matter?” asked Himekawa. 

“That's a pro wrestling move.” 

“Pro wrestling?” 

“I've had it used on me before as well.” 

“Really? You too?” 

In the past, Shozan had faced off against not only 
Karate fighters, but a large number of wrestlers as 
well. Himekawa had just remembered that. 

“Was that on TV?” 

“Well, even if TV wrestling is a bit of a joke, a 
Karate fighter using those techniques really is...” 
Shozan curled his lips upwards into a grin. For a 
moment he looked like some kind of wild animal, 
“very interesting.” Shozan then looked over to 
Himekawa looking as though he had just 
remembered something. 

[ 129 ] 

“Hey,” his voice was getting lower, “Shimura and 
Tsurumi are furious.” 

“Those two?” 

“Shimura and Tsurumi were staying with Izumi 
before you were.” 

“Oh, I see.” 

“Those two are planning to find Tanba and extract 

their revenge. They showed up here the day that 

you made your report.” 

66 11 

“I wonder if we should leave them to it.” 

“What did you tell them?” 

“I told them to leave him alone. We can’t have 
fights like that, it would just blow everything out of 
proportion. But maybe sometime in the future...” 
Shozan scratched his head as he spoke. 

“The future?” 

“I mean that in the future. I’ll go and take on Tanba 

“Of course.” 

“Do you want to know something?” 

“What’s that?” 

“I really love these kinds of fights.” 

“You like them?” 

“Well, it might be a little soon to say I really like 
it, I should probably watch my tongue. Really I'm 
just itching for a fight. I'm starting to regret 
expanding my business so far.” 

“Are you jealous of Tanba?” Shozan didn’t answer 
Himekawa's question, he just sat back down on the 

“The Hokushinkan would never turn down a 
challenge.” Shozan had a stern look in his eye. 

[ 130 ] 

Himekawa looked up. 

“Shimura and Tsurumi, without telling me, have 
gone around all our Dojo’s in the country.” 

“All of them?” 

“Telling them to get in contact immediately if they 
come into contact with anyone fitting Tanba’s 

“And they did this in secret?” 

“If they go around all the Dojos doing this, then 
they know that the news will eventually reach my 

ears. I know how much they are willing to put on 

the line.” 

66 11 

“If they find that Tanba somewhere, I want to be 
the first to know.” 

“But why?” 

“So I can send you out to where ever Tanba is.” 

66 11 

“I've said that they can't do this. This is important. 

Do you understand what I’m telling you?” 

66 11 

“Seems like they are ignoring me. There is no 
helping it. We can't make a sneak attack. There will 
be trouble if someone gets killed. It will be up to 
you to sort out any situation you may find.” 

“I understand.” 

“And if possible, I want you to bring Tanba back 

here to me.” 

66 11 

“I want to have a look at this man,” muttered 
Matsuo Shozan as he looked at Himekawa. 


It was raining. The rain was cold. Bunshichi Tanba 
was standing out in the rain. Raindrops were 
falling on twigs which lined the path. 

[ 131 ] 

He was standing in front of a ten story building. He 
was looking up at the third floor. On the window of 
the third floor were the words 'East-West Pro 
Wrestling' written in big red lettering. 

The shoulders of his leather jacket had turned wet 
and black with the rain. He was holding a leather 
bag with his right hand. His bag was worn out. It 
too was wet with rain. It was caked with mud. The 

rain had leaked through his jack and begun to soak 
his cotton shirt. 

“What are you doing standing around in the rain?” 
asked Ryoji. He was standing next to Bunshichi 
with his mouth ajar. Hair was matted against his 
skin. Light shone from his eyes like light reflected 
from the edge of a knife. 

“If you've got some business with East-West Pro 
Wrestling then hurry up and get in there.” It didn’t 
look like Ryoji's words had gotten into Bunshichi’s 
head, but Bunshichi lowered his vision from the 
third story window. The entrance to building stood 
right in front of him Bunshichi walked through the 
door without saying a word. 

“You moron,” said Ryoji before spitting on to the 
ground, “Are you going to raid the place?” 

“Yep.” said Bunshichi. He ignored the elevator and 
headed for the stairs. 

“Are you for real?” 

“Wait here if it's too scary for you.” 

“I’m not scared! Not scared of a wrestler, anyway,” 
Ryoji spat his words out. 

They reached the third floor. The sign for the East- 
West Pro Wrestling came into sight as climbed the 
last few steps. 

[ 132 ] 

The lettering was faded and peeling. They found 
themselves standing in front of that door. Ryoji 
straightened his back and swallowed loudly. 

“This is an office. There won’t be any wrestlers 
here,” said Bunshichi over his shoulder to Ryoji 
before pushing open the door. The room inside was 
huge and there were about a dozen office desks 
lined up next to each other. There were steel book 
shelves up against the wall. You could see how 
busy the place was just by looking at it. It seemed 

like the kind of place where documents and papers 
would pile up right in front of you on your desk 
before you had even finished the job at hand, and 
keep on piling up. 

There were sports news papers piling up on the 
floor by the wall. There were clippings left all 
over the place. All the important articles had 
probably been clipped out and filed away 
somewhere. One of the book shelves was packed 
with wrestling magazines. They were old, but 
well kept they weren’t dirty. There were about six 
people in the office. There was one man with a 
phone in one had and a pen in the other, feverishly 
jotting something down. 

The first person Bunshichi noticed when he walked 
through the door was a young woman going about 
her office work at a table by the door. 

“May I help you?” she said, rising to her feet. 

“Is Mr. Kawabe here?” asked Bunshichi. 

“He is.” said the woman, a little anxious. 

“Tell him Tanba is here.” 

“And what is this concerning?” the door behind the 
young woman flew open as she spoke. 

[ 133 ] 

A giant of man burst out of the door, almost taking 
it off it's hinges. He was a foreigner. He had a thick 
muscles and a physique that you could tell he was 
a wrestler just by looking at him. He wore a pair 
of jeans and a plaid shirt. He was blond. He held a 
leather ten gallon hat in his hands and had a fierce 
look on his face. Another man came out of the 
room after him. He was a little short and dumpy, 
but he too had the body of a wrestler. He was 
Japanese. He was wearing a white shirt over black 

The foreigner walked past Bunshichi and put his 
hand on the door. He opened the door and yelled 
something over his shoulder. He stunk of liquor. 

The man who followed him out of the room 
answered back. The foreigner had said something 
along the lines of “Fuck your mother and her pussy 
too!” The young female receptionist spoke to him 
as he walked back to his office. 

“Mr. Kawabe, this is Mr....” 

“Tanba Bunshichi,” said Bunshichi, finishing her 
sentence for her. 

“Tanba?” the man, Kawabe, said as if he was 

“I came to challenge the Dojo.” said Bunshichi. 
Kawabe's expression slowly changed, showing he 
had remembered Bunshichi. 

“It’s you.” 

“Do you remember?” 

“I remember you.” said Kawabe. 

[ 134 ] 

He smiled. “I thought you might have forgotten.” 

“I remember. You were the one that did the best out 

of all the people who challenged us.” 

Bunshichi nodded a moved forward towards the 
door, waved to Ryoji as Kawabe told the office 
lady to get some tea ready. Kawabe went back 
through the door which was still open. The office 
was separated from the room by a partition board. 
There was a desk and a simple lounge set inside. 

“Take a seat,” said Kawabe as he sat down. 
Bunshichi also sat down, looking at Kawabe. The 
sofa was soft and sagging. It felt as if some very 
important people had sat there before him 

“Whoa,” he mumbled as he sat down. Kawabe 
instantly knew what he ment by 'whoa'. 

“That was the foreign wrestler, Crazy Dog.” 
“Were you having a dispute over money?” 

“Yeah, he came to complain about his salary,” 
Kawabe looked up at Ryoji, who had a difficult 
look on his face, as he spoke. 

“You can sit down,” he said. Ryoji finally took a 

seat next to Bunshichi. 

“Are you his son?” 

“No,” said Ryoji, “I’m his best student.” 

“Oh really?” said said Kawabe, raising his voice. 

[ 135 ] 

“You're taking on students?” 

“He's not my student. He's just following me 
around,” replied Bunshichi. Kawabe looked both 
Bunshichi and Ryoji over for a moment, smiled and 

“Honestly, those foreign wrestlers are a pain in the 

“Like that man just now?” 

“Yeah. He found out we were paying him less than 
Hammer Shin, and came in here demanding a high 

66 59 

“Basically, Shin is a second tier wrestler and has 
less experience than him. But this isn’t America. 
Shin draws a better crowd. This is Japan. Those 

guys know how to wrestle, but they are too 
unpredictable. It's no good.” 

“I see.” 

“We don’t need wrestlers who are going to jump in 
the ring drunk. They always talk about jumping 
ship to another wrestling branch, but I just tell them 
to fuck off and do it.” 


“They are so full of themselves. I told him he can 
face off against Shin in the cement, and if he beats 
him, then he will get his pay rise. After I said that 
he shut right up and went home. There aren't many 
wrestlers who have the courage to take on Shin in 
the cement. They know their own limitations.” 

“The cement?” 

“Like the matches that our Kajiwara does.” 
Kawabe got a nostalgic look in his eyes. “How 
many years ago was it now?” 


“Has it already been that long...” 

[ 136 ] 

“You're looking in good shape.” 

“Than ks . The Dojo isn’t there anymore.” 

“In Shinjuku?” 


“So no one is at the Dojo anymore.” 

“Well no one on this planet likes being around a 
bunch of loud mouths, or being thrown into fights 
when you're nearly forty. I work in an office now. 
Sometimes I’m appear on TV as a commentator.” 

“Those foreign wrestlers give me nothing but 
grief.” Just as Kawabe had finished talking, the 
receptionist came through the door with a tray of 
tea. He continued talking once she had left. “So 
what are you here for?” 

“Same thing as always.” 

“You've come to challenge the Dojo?” 

“You could say that.” 

“You've filled out quite a bit. Have you come to 
join up?” Said Kawabe without a hint of sarcasm. 
“Can I join up?” 

“There are some regulations. There is an age limit, 
you know.” 

66 55 

“But, you know, you're a lot stronger now than you 
were then, so I’d say you joining up would be a 
possibility. I could put in a good word with the 
boss for you, and he’d have to see you first...” 

“See me?” 

“You wouldn’t be able to do a main event. But 
you're name definitely has value. But you would 
still have to start as a junior. Even so, we've 
already got plenty of wrestlers. 

“Is Kajiwara one those wrestlers?” 

“He is.” 

“Could you tell me something.” 


“Six years ago. Out of all the young wrestlers 
there, where was Kajiwara, in terms of strongest to 

66 55 

“You can tell me now, can’t you?” 

“He was at the top, the strongest,” said Kawabe. 

Bunshichi smiled. 

“Does that put your mind at rest?” 

“It sure does.” 

“Even so, our juniors are juniors.” 

“I understand.” 

[ 137 ] 

“These guys are a little different to the others. And 
they have gotten even stranger since then.” 

“Like how?” 

“They have been really into kicks. They can get 
their legs up like a Karate fighter. You know about 
Matsuo don't you?” 

“Of the Hokushinkan?” 

“They would have taken you on when you were 
younger, though your grappling probably would 
have needed some work.” 

“I guess so” 

“Even Matsuo has shown and interest in our 
Kajiwara, telling him to quit pro-wrestling and 
join the Hokushinkan, saying all kinds of things.” 
“But why Matsuo Shozan?” 

“Pro wrestling Dojos often gets a lot of people 
challenging them. Like you.” 

66 55 

“They are not normally anything special. But there 
was one who came in who no one could lay a 
finger on, and who walked out of the ring 
himself...” said Kawabe, looking at Bunshichi to 
see if he knew who it was. “That was Matsuo 


“There are a lot of complex grappling moves that 
both Pro Wrestling and Matsuo have.” 

[ 138 ] 

After the spoke, Kawabe narrowed his eyes as if a 
dark light had come from Bunshichi’s eyes. A pang 
of fear shot through Kawabe's body. There was a 
brief silence. 

“I haven’t told you about the conditions,” said 
Kawabe, his voice had grown firm. 

“Tell me if there are any,” said Bunshichi in a low 


“The conditions for joining up?” 

“No,” said Bunshichi, his expression hadn’t 
changed. Ryoji swallowed loudly, and it echoed 
through the room. 

“I came here to challenge the Dojo again,” said 
Bunshichi, speaking slowly and clearly so that 
Kawabe would understand exactly what he was 


[page 138 continued] 

There was a long silence. That silence was spent 
by Bunshichi and Kawabe glaring at each other. 
Ryoji looked over both of their faces as he realized 

the change in atmosphere. Kawabe was the first to 
open his mouth. 

“You're serious, aren’t you?” 

“I am” 

“Didn't you learn your lesson?” 

“I learned a lot. That’s why I’ve been training.” 
“Against Kajiwara?” 

“That’s right.” Bunshichi answered bluntly. “I’m 
not interested in anyone else.” 

Kawabe titled his head slightly to the side as the 
glared over at Bunshichi. 

[ 139 ] 

“That’s not possible.” 

“Not possible?” 

“Kajiwara isn’t the same as he used to be.” 

“I’m not the same as I used to be.” 

“I get that.” 

“Then why?” 

“Kajiwara is now a pro-wrestler with a pay 

“There is no way he can face off against an 

66 55 

“It doesn’t really matter how strong you are now, 
you're still at amateur level. You have no pulling 
power, no one knows you. There would be nothing 
in it for Kajiwara, even if he won. Not for him, or 
for me. If he lost, on the other hand, it could put a 
lot of people out of work.” 

“I’m not saying I want to fight him in the ring.” 

“It doesn’t make a difference. The media will sniff 
out the rumor. Even if Kajiwara wins but sustains 
an injury would be bad for us and our company. 
And of course for Kajiwara.” 

66 55 

“I think you understand what I'm trying to tell 
you...” said Kawabe in a comforting manner, not 
trying to be antagonistic. Bunshichi looked down 
for the first time. 

There was a long silence. After a while, Bunshichi 

slowly started to speak. His voice sounded like it 
was about to spew forth from his guts like goo. 
“Look, Kawabe,” he said, raising his head, “Six 
years. I have waited six years, to have a rematch 

66 5? 

“Three years ago I finally built up the courage to 
take Kajiwara on again. But he wasn't even in 

[ 140 ] 

“I saw him on TV I was in Nara. He had already 
come back to Japan.” 

Kawabe didn’t answer. 

“He was caught up in his business, and I in mine. 
The world isn't always a logical place.” 

Kawabe crossed his arms and remained silent. He 
looked at Bunshichi with sympathetic eyes. 
Bunshichi looked back at him. 

“I pissed blood,” mumbled Bunshichi, “I have 

been thinking about that fight with Kajiwara all this 
time.” Bunshichi didn’t go into just how far he had 
gone in his training. He didn’t have to, Kawabe 
could tell how much he had trained just by looking 
at him Kawabe had told Bunshichi that he needed 
to bulk up a little the first time they met. 

At that time Bunshichi thought that he had the ideal 
body. It had gone past what would be called an 
ideal body and was now in a league of it's own. 

His body was heavy, like a blunt weapon. But it 
was a blunt weapon with a lot of power. Kawabe 
now saw the man sitting in front of him in a new 
light. He looked even more impressive now than 
when he walked through he door. A strange kind of 
pressure came from Bunshichi’s body as he sat on 
the sofa. He was a rough weapon of a man. He 
seemed even more powerful than the foreign 
wrestler who had just stormed out of the office. 

[ 141 ] 

There was just no way Kawabe could let this man 
fight Kajiwara. “I can't let that happen,” said 

“You wouldn’t tell me where Kajiwara is even if I 
asked, right?” 

“That’s right,” Kawabe said with a nod. 

“I guess I will have to do it myself,” said 
Bunshichi as he rose to his feet. Ryoji shot to his 
feet as well. 

“I could fight you in place of Kajiwara, how does 
that sound?” said Kawabe as he too stood up. 
Bunshichi, who was about to turn his back on 
Kawabe, stopped in his tracks. 

“What was it you said to me six years ago? That I 
have to do it with you?” Kawabe nodded slowly. 
“Let me tell you what you told me.” 

66 55 

“You won't beat me.” 

“You won't know if you don't try,” said Kawabe in 
a stern voice. 

“That’s what I told you back then,” muttered 


“Yes, it was,” said Kawabe, the subtle wrinkles of 

a smile forming on his face. 

“But you do know, don't you?” 

66 11 

“I would win,” said Bunshichi. They stared at each 
other for a few seconds. Bunshichi turned his back 
on Kawabe. 

“I know,” said Kawabe, his words hitting 
Bunshichi’s back. 

[ 142 ] 

Bunshichi looked over his shoulder. “You can’t 

protect Kajiwara. Every day of the year” 

“I can’t allow you fight Kajiwara, but I guess I 

can’t stop you from fighting him either. It can’t be 


66 11 

“All I ask is that when you do face him, fight him 
properly, no weapons.” 


“However, and it's got nothing to do with me, but 
you’ll never beat Kajiwara the way he is now.” 
“All I can do is try.” 

“You know, Kajiwara himself might decline.” 
“There is no man who will sit back and silently 
take a beating.” 

“He's not the same man he once was.” 

“Neither ami.” 

“He can break bones now.” Kawabe spoke loud 
and clear so that Bunshichi would hear him. 

Kawabe held his hand out to Bunshichi. Bunshichi 
looked at Kawabe. Kawabe held his hand out in 
silence. Bunshichi slowly held his hand out while 
looking at Kawabe. Their hands were on top of 
one another. In that moment, an unspoken attack had 
begun. What kind of attack wasn’t clear to Ryoji. 

The both grabbed the others right elbow with their 
left hand while their right hands were still grasping 
each other, and looked like each was trying to flip 
the other over. The table broke. In that moment 

Kawabe had Bunshichi on his back. That's when he 
heard a cracking sound. 

[ 143 ] 

The unnerving sound echoed through the room. It 
was Kawabe who let out a cry. Bunshichi released 
his grip onKawabe's hand. Kawabe's index finger 
was bent to the side from it's center joint. 

“Mr. Kawabe...” the door opened and several men 
poured into the room. They were office workers, 
not pro wrestlers, called “the suits” in the 
wrestling world. 

“Do you get it now?” he laughed. It was a bitter 
laugh. “I can break bones as well.” Kawabe wiped 
the sweat from his brow and grabbed at his right 
hand with his left hand. Bunshichi faced the door. 
The suits parted ways like the red sea. 

“Don’t do it!” Kawabe called out to Bunshichi as 

he made his way to the door. “You'll regret it! 
You'll make yourself an enemy of the East-West 
Pro Wrestling federation.” 

Bunshichi silently made his way through the door. 


Grey darkness spread out from the window. It was 
a huge window. The polished glass reached from 
the ceiling to the floor. It was a bar up near the 
penthouse in a group of high rises in Shinjuku. The 
darkness outside spread over the land for 200 

[ 144 ] 

Not even a smidgen of the coldness made it through 
the glass. Finely tuned air conditioned warmth 
filled the room. Once the air had struggled it's way 
through the air conditioner, it lost its dampness and 
gained an inorganic smell. It had lost all of the 
smells that air should have, like rain, plants, 
exhaust gas and dirt. It was the kind of air that 
dried out your skin. 

The lights of the city below shone in the dark. They 
looked like glow worms on the bottom of an ocean 
of darkness. They were so far away that you 
couldn’t really see them individually, rather the 
shone with beautiful multi-colored light. That's 
what it looked like at a distance, through the thick, 
hardened glass. The warmth from inside gently fell 
to the ground once it it made it through the window. 
Looking out at the world made you feel as if you 
were looking down on some different planet from 
above. The lights of the city looked like stars 
floating in space. 

The room was filled with subtle music and the 
smell of tobacco. The music was an old jazz 
number. It was a strange, dimly lit bar, with the 
music and the low noise not quite matching it. 
There was a man and a woman sharing a quiet 
conversation. The sound of someone touching the 
glass. Noises like that melted into the room. 

There were a few foreigners there. A man sat 
down at the end of the polished bar. He had his 
chest puffed outwards and was thick with muscle. 
He wore a blue shirt under an open navy blue 
blazer. The sleeves of his shirt were sticking out 
from under the sleeves of his blazer. He was 
wearing them in a casual manner, but they looked 
pretty expensive. 

[ 145 ] 

He somehow looked out of place in and among all 
the men in suits and dressed up ladies. His body 
was a bit big, but what really made him stand out 

was his hair. He was blond. He was strikingly 
blond, and his facial hair was black. He was 
Japanese. He had died his hair. The window was 
to the left of him. He raised a glass of bourbon to 
his lips as he gazed out of the window. He was in 
his early forties, forty five at the most. He had a 
scars running all over his chin like a ditch. Some 
of the scars still looked pink and fresh. The fingers 
gripping the glass of bourbon on the counter were 
incredibly thick. He was the only one sitting at the 

A man walked into the room alone. He was as big 
as any other man in that room He wore a worn 
lather jumper over a pair of washed-out jeans. It 
was Bunshichi Tanba. He walked over to the bar 
and looked around. His eyes soon stopped on the 
man sitting at the edge of the bar. He slowly made 
his way over. He moved his body carefully, so as 
not to give himself away. Bunshichi sat down next 
to the man. The man looked up to see who it was 
that had ignored the other seats and purposely 

decided to sit next to him. He took a look and saw 
Bunshichi’s body, but quickly lost interest and 
looked back out the window. 

[ 146 ] 

The pair of them looked like a small mountain of 
flesh from behind. Weapons made from flesh and 
wrapped in fabric. 

“I’ll have what he’s having,” Bunshichi said as he 
looked down at the glass the man next to him and 
then glanced up at the lone waiter behind the bar. 
The bartender instantly knew what he wanted. 
Bunshichi again spoke to the bartender as he began 
to pour his drink. 

“Some beef jerky, too.” 

A glass full of bourbon appeared in front of him 
The beef jerky he had ordered with it appeared 
next to it a moment later. Bunshichi grabbed the 

glass and poured about a third of it down into his 
stomach. It was straight bourbon. No water added. 

The warmth of the Bourbon spread from his mouth 
down to the pit of his throat. Bunshichi slowly 
returned his glass to the counter. It was a small, 
thick glass. It had a design that looked as though it 
had been cut up with a knife. 

“What do you want?” asked the man. He still had 
his back turned and was still looking out of the 
window into darkness. He spoke almost as if he 
was speaking to himself. 

“You're Mr. Date, right?” Bunshichi didn’t speak 
those words to the man, but rather into his glass of 
Bourbon. The other man looked up from the 
window. The man’s blond hair was right in front of 
his nose. He didn't say anything. There was a 
strange kind of power that followed him as he 
turned around and looked at Bunshichi. 

[ 147 ] 

The sense of his muscles pushed through his 
clothes and hung in the air. 

‘TmTanba Bunshichi.” 

“And what do you want?” said the man looking 
back out the window. 

“There is something I want to ask Date Ushio, the 
mighty Ox.” 

“...” the man, Date, didn’t answer. He simply 
brought his glass of bourbon up to his lips as he 
looked out the window. 

“I heard that you would be staying in this hotel 
from the editor of a pro wrestling magazine.” 

“We stay here every time we're in a show in 
Tokyo,” said Date, “us foreigners,” he added in a 
low voice. 


“They consider me a foreigner. Under the contract I 

have with East-West pro-wrestling.” Date put his 
glass back down on the counter. He slowly turned 
and looked at Bunshichi. Their eyes met. Bunshichi 
looked at his eyes, a deep dark light seemed to 
shine from within them. 

“Do you know why I’m in this bar?” 

“I heard that you don't like going out much. I've 
been in and out of all the bars in this hotel looking 
for you.” 

“Huh,” he muttered and half turned back towards 
Bunshichi. The chair swiveled underneath Date as 
he turned his body and it made a metallic grinding 

“Well, what do you want?” 

“I want you to tell me something,” said Bunshichi, 
not taking his eyes off Date. His line of sight came 
down on Bunshichi like an axe. 

[ 148 ] 

He was an intense man. A normal person could 

only look him in the eye for no more than a few 
seconds at a time. 

“Tell you what?” said Date, growing a little 

“Tell me how to break in.” 

“Break in?” said Date, there was now a little 
power behind his voice. 

“Break in,” Bunshichi said again. That was 
followed by a brief silence. 

“Are you crazy?” 

“I may be crazy, but I'm serious.” 

“Seriously?” if they weren’t in a bar he would have 
screwed up his face as if about to spit something 

“Who are you? You don't look like an amateur,” 
said Date, his voice had grown a little thick. The 
voice was rough, like it had over flowed from his 
throat. He slowly looked Bunshichi up and down. 
“I’m a wanderer.” 

“I could tell that just by looking at you when you 
walked in the door. But that's not what I’m asking 
you,” his voice was strangely calm, “I want to 

know why.” 

“There is a man who I really want to fight.” 

“Kajiwara,” said Bunshichi. A different kind of 
light shone in Date's eyes. 

“You're the one who broke Kawabe's finger.” 
“So you have heard of me.” 

“Oh, I heard. I heard there was some fool who 
wants to take on Kajiwara.” 

[ 149 ] 

“Well then I don’t need to explain myself.” 

“No, I think you do. Why did you come and see 

66 55 

“I might be getting paid by the East-West Pro¬ 
wrestling federation, but my name isn't on their 
register. Even though I’m not, I still don’t like 
people who try to mess with them.” 

“I’m not trying to mess with them. I even told 
Kawabe that.” 

“Well then are you trying to mess with me?” 

66 59 

“The federation would probably give me a bonus if 
I did you in right here and tossed you trough that 



“I thought you had a grudge against the federation, 
against The Great Tatsumi,” said Bunshichi. 

“A grudge?” 

“Weren't you the reason that he jumped ship to the 
Central Pro-Wrestling circuit?” Bunshichi put an 
odd emphasis on the word 'you'. As soon as he had 
finished speaking, Date tensed his entire body. He 
was intimidating. 

“Seems like Tatsumi’s coup is pretty famous in this 
business. You weren't there when Tatsumi’s made 
plans after making his coup. But it seems that you 
tipped them offbefore it even happened, and that's 
why it all blew up. He was chased by the Central 
Wrestling Federation and formed the East West 
Wrestling Federation.” 

“By the way, what broke down at the Central 
Wrestling Federation was its main event, you. So 
you decided to go overseas to avoid having to start 
from the bottom in the East West Wrestling 
Federation. It seems that Tatsumi is calling you out 
as a traitor.” 

[ 150 ] 

“I don't know where you heard all that, but you 
shouldn’t go running your mouth.” 

“And now you're receiving money from the Great 

“Don’t push it.” Date's muscles tensed under his 

“I read about it in a book about pro wrestling.” 
said Bunshichi, his tone suddenly turning a little 
more polite. 

“What the hell would know?” 


U 55 

“You shouldn’t believe everything you read. There 
is no way we have been living in a world as 
fantastic as all of that. The story always changes 
depending on the opinion and position of who's 
telling the story. Everybody thinks they know it all. 

u 55 

“It’s just that the papers take more notice of what 

Tatsumi is saying than you.” 

“I certainly do hate that guy, but there is a world 
out there that only wrestlers really understand.” 
There came a cracking sound from between Date's 
fingers as he finished speaking. A crack had 
formed in his thick whiskey glass. 

“Shit.” Date looked at his right hand. A shard of 
glass had wedged itself in around the base of his 
thumb. Blood dripped from the point where it was 
pulled out. 

[ 151 ] 

Date licked it up with his tongue. 

“Are you alright?” asked the bartender when he 
noticed the blood. 

“I’m fine,” said Date. The bartender brought over a 
first aid kit/box, but Date told him he didn’t need it 
as he wrapped a handkerchief around it. People 
around him had noticed too. 

’That is Date the Ox', 'He's a pro-wrestler', 'He's 
the one who fights those fixed matches’ came the 

low voices from behind him. 

“I guess those wrestlers really do get a surprise 
when they bleed for real,” came a voice from right 
behind the pair. It was the same voice that had 
mentioned fixed matches. Date stood up. 

“Who said that?” he said, surprisingly blunt. He 
glared at the tables behind him. In one of the seats 
sat a middle aged man in a suit. There was with a 
woman with him who was all dressed up. They 
didn’t look like a husband and wife. It looked more 
like they had come to relax at the bar before 
heading up to their hotel room for some fun. 

The man’s face was red. He’d had a bit to drink. 
Date's eyes were glaring straight at him. 

“It was you,” said Date. 

“What are you talking about?” said the man. The 
man looked about the same age as Date, but there 
was a world of difference between their 

[ 152 ] 

“What did you say just now?” 

“You mean the fixed matches?” said the man, his 
voice trembling slightly, “All I did was tell the 
truth.” All the man could think about is whether or 
not Date would lash out of him in the bar of a hotel 
with all these people watching. There were women 
present as well. A wrestler would get temporarily 
banned from matches if they were found attacking 
members of the public. 

Without saying a word, Date moved in front of 
their table. 

“Sir!” the bartender called out. 

“It’s nothing,” said Date. He held his forehead in 
his left hand. He held the shard of glass that he had 
pulled from his right hand a moment ago. He 
pushed the shard of glass into his forehead, around 
where his hairline ended. He had a lot of power 
built up in that hand. A small sound echoed through 
the silence that had returned to the table. There 
were tearing and scraping sounds. Date had 

stabbed the shard of glass into his forehead and 
pulled it downwards. The redness in the man's face 
began to turn pale. 

The woman gasped. A deep red line in Date's face 
grew bigger as he pulled the glass downward. 

Date put his face right in front of the man at the 
table. The red line had flowed down the side of his 
nose and into his lips. 

[ 153 ] 

Before the red could build up around his lips, 
Date's huge pink tongue crawled out of his mouth 
and mopped up the excess blood. The woman let 
out a cry and rose to her feet. The man tried to 
stand up as well but his knees struck the underside 
of the table. The glass of wine sitting on the table 
got knocked over and the red wine stained the table 
cloth a deep red. 

“Y-You...” The calmness of the man had been 
completely torn away. He stood up and pointed 

with his wine-stained, trembling finger. Date spoke 
before the bartender, who had come out from 
behind the counter, had a chance to open his mouth. 
“It’s nothing,” said Date with a deathly piercing 
voice, “I'm the one who’s hurt. These two are fans 
of mine, I came over to say hello, but when I 
touched my face the glass from the cup was still 
lodged in my finger. I think I shocked my fans a 
little bit. It’s my fault, really,” he said, looking at 
the man with a smirk. The man nodded earnestly. 
“You'd better clean all of this up,” said Date as he 
dropped his blood splattered cup into the 
bartenders hands, turned back towards Bunshichi 
and smiled with a mouth of crimson. “Where can I 
wash up?” asked Date. The bartender pointed to 
the far side of the bar. 

“We don't have anything more to talk about. So just 
disappear before I get back,” said Date looking in 
Bunshichi’s direction. The muscles in Dates body 
had swelled even more than before. It seemed they 
had swelled along with the bleeding. His voice 

had become calm. 

Just as Date had disappeared towards the 
washroom, a voice came from the entrance of the 


[ 154 ] 

The patrons of the bar looked over with piercing 
eyes as Kubo Ryoji entered the room. Ryoji thought 
the types of people who come to bars like this one 
to be nothing other than mortal enemies. It seems 
that Ryoji, in a pair of jeans, stuck out even more 
than Bunshichi. Even if he wasn't young, a weaker 
willed person would have been pushed out of the 
bar by it's atmosphere alone. Facing the 
atmosphere, there came a feeling like someone 
wanted to kill you which ran right through the 

“Bro, I finally found you.” Ryoji stood next to 

Bunshichi at the bar and spoke in a low voice. 
“What's happened?” 

“There are some guys looking for you in the 


“Just like I said, they are waiting in the lobby. 
There were just two of them. Strange guys. They 
asked me about you.” 

“What did they ask?” 

“They asked where you were. I had to answer 
them, but I told them I didn’t know where you 

“What kind of men where they?” 

“They were Karate fighters. They had Karate 
blisters all over their hands. They looked like two 
rabid dogs.” 

“Karate fighters, huh.” 

“They are out to get someone, I got really bad 
feeling about them. Do you know anyone like 

“Too many to count.” 

“I pretended that I need to go to the toilet. I think I 

lost them.” 

“I wonder,” said Bunshichi. 

“You wonder? What are you talking about?” 

[ 155 ] 

Bunshichi’s line of sight was set squarely behind 

“If those guys over there are the Karate fighters 
you were talking about, then you didn’t lose them, 
rather you led them right to me.” 

Ryoji's eyes swung upwards. He looked behind 
himself. There were three men standing at the 

“It’s them” Ryoji felt a burning sensation from 
deep within himself. 

“So there were three of them.” 

“Damn it,” spat Ryoji. 

Two of them had threatened Ryoji, but Ryoji hadn’t 
seen the third one. They had tailed him. They had 
that intention when they first called out to Ryoji. It 

looked like Ryoji had accepted it. The trio slowly 
made their way over to Bunshichi. You could see 
their muscles rippling beneath their shirts and 
trousers as they walked. 

The three men stood around Bunshichi, as if he 
were wrapped up by them. They weren't too close, 
nor were they far away. They were far away 
enough that Bunshichi wouldn’t be able to punch or 
kick them, but also close enough that Bunshichi 
wouldn’t be able to make a break for it. 

“Bunshichi Tanba, right?” Said one of the men. 
Bunshichi nodded. All the eyes in the bar were on 
Bunshichi and the three men. The man and woman 
from before, who had been sitting at the table, 
were gone. There was a strange air that focused 
itself around Bunshichi. 

“Please, you are disturbing the other customers...” 
said the bartender. 

“We’ll be leaving soon,” said Bunshichi. 

[ 156 ] 

A pair of eyes glared down at Bunshichi. 

“What?” asked a throaty voice. Date had returned 
from the washrooms. He stood behind the three 
men. He had a blood soaked handkerchief wrapped 
around his right hand and a piece of cloth the same 
color as his shirt wrapped around his forehead. 

The sleeve of his shirt no longer poked out from 
under the right hand sleeve of his blazer. 

“They're with me, please don't worry about it.” 
“Really?” said Date as he sat back down in his 

“Could we please speak with you outside?” said 
one of the men. 

“Before we do that, why don’t you tell me who you 
are.” One of the men opened his mouth after 
hesitating for just a moment. 

“We’re from the Hokushinkan. I’m Matsumoto,” he 


“Gotou,” the three men gave their names. 

“The Hokushinkan?” 

“Kawaguchi from Fukuoka, and you must have also 
faced off against Mr. Izumi in Nara. 

“I certainly did,” answered Bunshichi in a low 
voice. The three men suddenly became stiff, tensed 

“This time I want you to take on the challenge of 
the three of us,” said Matsumoto, his voice was 
hard as stone. 


“That’s right.” 

“Right now?” 

“There is a park quite near here.” 

“Alright.” Bunshichi stood up. 


“Hey!” Date called out after Bunshichi. He looked 
back towards the counter, the glass was still turned 

“You'd better pay for the booze you drank...” 
Bunshichi pulled a crisp 5 thousand yen note from 
his pocket and casually placed it down on the 


“Let's go.” Matsumoto, Ikami and Gotou all 
followed after Bunshichi as he walked towards the 


It was a quiet park surrounded by trees. So quiet 
you wouldn’t think there there is a road carrying a 
constant stream of cars nearby. 

Towering skyscrapers stood behind the branches of 
cherry blossom trees. Bunshichi was standing in 
the dirt. He had taken off his jacket. 

His muscles were wrapped up with the cloth of his 
t-shirt. His legs were like tree trunks and pulled at 
the denim of his jeans. They weren’t made for 
someone who needed to lift their legs high or give 

their joints a free range of movement. He had on a 
pair of leather work shoes. The three men standing 
in front of him weren’t as muscly as Bunshichi, but 
they had fearless looks on their faces. They had 
builds not unlike frightening gangsters. Frightening 
may be frightening, but that was a part of the 
Yakuza. However there was also a certain 
something that put them apart from regular people. 
It wasn’t like they had tempered and conditioned 
their bodies, more like their physique was 
something they were born with. 


They gave off the same kind of tension as seeing a 
weapon which is made to kill people. There was a 
single street light that illuminated Bunshichi and 
the three men in the darkness. The three men would 
have been around three of four years younger than 
Bunshichi, in their late twenties. Matsumoto 
looked the strongest. 

It was early spring but the evening air was still 
cold. Ryoji was standing a little off to the side. He 
was wearing a leather jacket with the sleeves 
rolled up. The sounds of cars tooting heir horns 
and engines humming drifted into the park. Those 
kinds of sounds were to be expected, but they 
sounded so far away that they didn’t even seem 

They hadn’t closed in on each other close enough to 
make a punch or a kick. A few more steps would 
have to be taken for that to happen. 

“Three on one, huh?” said Bunshichi. It didn’t 
particularly look as if Bunshichi was worried 
about a three on one match. He was just standing 
there wondering who he would take on first. 
Bunshichi was standing there with his legs casually 
ajar, his body seemed very stable. He lightly 
moved his elbows around and put more tension 
into his body. It was a fighting stance without being 
a fighting stance. The tension the could be felt 

coming off of Bunshichi which made it look like he 
had taken a fighting stance. 

“Who’s first?” asked Matsumoto. 

“Any one of you,” said Bunshichi. Matsumoto 

“Well then, how about we go three on one then.” 
The three had given their names and Bunshichi had 
accepted their challenge. That's what Bunshichi 
had done. It was unexpected, but seemed to be 
unraveling into a typical match. Bunshichi wouldn’t 
mind taking on all three if need be. 


Even if they all came at him at once, that would 
still be within the rules of the fight. The three of 
them showed their worth when they agreed to fight 
as part of the Hokushinkan, which teaches full 
contact Karate. Winning would be a true virtue. It 
would be real underground Karate. 

That's the way that Matsumoto would want to do it. 

“That's dirty,” mumbled Ryoji. 

“Alright, but then I won’t go easy on you,” said 
Bunshichi. He looked at Matsumoto to the right, 
Ikami in the middle and Gotou on the left. Even if 
they weren’t the head of their respective classes, 
they looked like they could be strong enough to do 
so. They also weren't the type of Karate fighters 
who pulled their punches. From paired karate-kata 
to hitting the body. The two or three centimeters 
that the non-contact karate fighter stopped at 
wouldn’t be enough for full contact karate. You 
could use it in amateur Karate, but if your opponent 
was an experienced fighter, one centimeter could 
mean the difference between a victory and a loss. 

Not only strength, but fear also allowed to you 
make steps forward. But the person standing in 
front of Bunshichi was not that kind of opponent. 
Matsumoto and Gotou suddenly moved out to the 
side, leaving Ikami in the middle. That's when it 

happened. Bunshichi moved to the right like a 
black gust of wind. The closed in on Matsumoto by 
a few steps. His movement was a surprise to his 
opponents that were neither ready to take or make 
an attack. The moment you make a singe move it is 
too late to make a separate move. It takes a certain 
amount of time. And in that time they came even 
closer to Bunshichi. 

[ 160 ] 

When they did, Bunshichi's fist went flying straight 
into Matsumoto's face. Matsumoto went flying 
backwards without making a sound. He fell face 
down with his mouth still open, and his eyes still 
open, knocked out cold. 

Matsumoto had tried to get a kick in before he got 
hit, but his poor timing and lack of balance meant 
that there was no need to try and block it. The 
feeling of smashed muscle and cracked bone ran 
through Bunshichi’s hand. If a Karate fighter had 

kept his distance and faced the enemy, the fist 
attack would be a kick, not a punch. The leg has a 
better reach and can hit an opponent from further 
away than the arm They almost never get a punch 
as the first attack. That's why Bunshichi decided to 
use his fists. 


Bunshichi turned to Ikami, who had gotten ready to 
join the fight, bent his body over and let his leg fly. 
Bunshichi did this almost at the same time as he 
punched Matsumoto, as if it were a single move. 
Bunshichi’s leg, with all his weight behind it, sunk 
itself into Ikami's mid-section. His foot had the 
power to split Ikami’s abdomen apart. Ikami’s legs 
flew up in the air as he flew backwards. Bunshichi 
tightened his arm movements, clenched his fists 
and turned to face Gotou. That was enough to stop 
Gotou in his tracks. 

A thick crimson began to form in Matsumoto's 

mouth. Blood from his nose was running down 
both sides of his face and form a pool on the 
ground. Ikami was on the ground, making some 
kind of noise, almost like he was saying a prayer. 
The contents of his stomach was coming out of his 

[ 161 ] 

A sour smell filled the night air. Gotou didn’t 
move. He had turned pale. 

“Why are you coming after me?” Asked Bunshichi. 
Gotou didn’t answer. Bunshichi suddenly 
remember the long hair man who had been with 
him when he fought Souichiro. Himekawa for the 
Hokushinkan. Izumi had introduced him. 

“Did someone tell you something?” 

“No,” said Gotou as he moved back slowly so as 
to get out of the line of fire. Bunshichi moved 
towards him as he moved back. He wasn’t getting 
any further away. 

“We were just looking for you. And when we 
found you, we were supposed to report back to the 
head office.” Then without any warning, they had 
planned to sort it out all by themselves. Beads of 
sweat had formed on Gotou's brow. Still in a 
fighting stance, Bunshichi moved back from Gotou. 
“We should probably call it quits, huh?” said 
Bunshichi, “I can’t go and do over the only guy 
who can look after these two, or else I'll have to 
call the ambulance myself.” Bunshichi continued to 
put more distance between them and relaxed from 
his fighting stance. Gotou felt all the power drain 
from his body. Bunshichi hadn’t even broken a 

“Let's go,” he yelled over to Ryoji. 

“That was awesome!” Ryoji finally answered 
back, “You totally wasted the Hokushinkan!” he 
went on, too excited to conceal his voice. 
Bunshichi turned his back on him and began 
making his way over to the entrance of the park. 
“Wait! Hey bro, wait for me!” 

[ 162 ] 

Ryoji followed after Bunshichi. From the shadows 
cast by the cherry bloom tree's branches above, an 
even bigger shadow emerged right in front of 

“That was really something,” said the shadow. It 
had cloth wrapped around its head. Standing right 
before him was the same man he had talked to in 
the bar, Date. 

“You were watching?” said Bunshichi, stopping to 
look at Date. 

“Yeah, I took a peek.” 

“But it had nothing to do with you?” said 
Bunshichi. Date turned his head a fraction to the 
side before he answered. 

“I heard it was about the Hokushinkan” 

“Yeah, it seems as if you've made an enemy of 

“They're not my enemy.” 

“Yeah, but they don't think so.” 

66 11 

“Taking those guys on one by one with Matsumoto 
being the last opponent would have made things a 
little harder,” said Date with a wry grin, “Taking 
them all on at once, letting them think they have the 
upper hand before smashing them, you've got balls, 
that's for sure.” 

“You guys are the ones with the monopoly on 
hitting before the bell,” Said Bunshichi. Date let 
out a laugh. 

“You're funny, you know that?” 

“No, that's first time I've been called funny.” 

“I like guys like you.” 

“Do you now?” 

“I just want to ask you one thing?” 

66 11 

“Why do you wan to fight Kajiwara? Is it the 
money? You think you'll sell out a stadium if you 
beat him? 

[ 163 ] 



“I just want to fight him.” 

“Yeah, but why?” 

“I lost once to Kajiwara. He grappled me and 
made me scream I can still hear the sound I 
made.” A dark flame smoldered in Bunshichi's 
eyes as he spoke. 


“You could call it that.” 

“You're a strange one.” 

“I just have a simple motive.” 

“I fight for money. I got into Sumo wrestling to 
feed myself, keep my gut full. I got into pro¬ 
wrestling because I wanted money.” 

“I heard you were a top-tier wrestler.” 

“Yeah, but you're the type who would become a 
wrestler if there was money in it or not,” said Date 

as he glanced at Bunshichi. 

66 11 

“And so is Kajiwara. Maybe even more so than 



“Yeah, like you, he can’t stand the existence of 
anyone stronger than himself. In that kind of was, 
he's even more intense than you.” 

“You don’t say.” 

“Yeah, I’m not even sure I think he's from this 
planet. Pro wrestling isn't that far removed from a 
regular business. Only the truly great people stick 

“Kajiwara is truly great then?” 

“I’d say so. I want to ask you one more thing.” 


“About what you said before. You want to jump in 
the ring with Kajiwara, don’t you?” 

“To fight him, yeah.” 

“Amateurs can't just jump into the ring.” 

“I’m not an amateur.” 

“You're an amateur in the world of pro wrestling. 

Though you could be pretty good for the ratings.” 
“Storming the ring?” 


“Do they have pre-match meeting about this or 

“In a sense.” 

“In a sense?” 

“There are times when they do have a proper pre¬ 
match meeting, but sometimes they don't. 
Sometimes the only person who knows about it is 
the one storming the ring, but there are other times 
when the guy in the ring knows what's coming.” 

66 55 

“There are times when the promoter organizes to 
have someone storm the ring. For money. 
Sometimes it helps to sell more tickets. And there 
are some that storm the ring to try and make some 
money for themselves as a wrestler. But regardless 
of why you want to jump in the ring, there are rules 
in place.” 


“For example, regardless of how you do it, the 

promoter needs to be told about it.” 

“The promoter?” 

“Yeah, to tell if it's going to make any money or 


66 11 

“It will be something you need to discuss. Whether 
the punters will be interested in it or not.” 

“The style...” said Bunshichi. 

“Yeah. Whatever industry you are in, you need to 
have your own style. Or else you'll never make it 
too the top. A wrestler can't afford to be stupid. 
Whether a business man or a gangster, an idiot will 
always be third rate.” 


“At the end of the day, the world of pro wrestling 
runs on a system or seniority. There is a rigid 
system in place. The places are already decided. 
Junior wrestlers aren't allowed to beat senior 

“How do they decide the placing?” 

“That's a tricky question to answer. It's decided in 

the persons career, how controversial they are and 

a bunch of other factors.” 

66 11 

“But that's not the only thing you have to worry 


“You are able to make it to the top. As soon as you 

reach that level. I said that junior wrestlers aren’t 

allowed to beat senior wrestlers, but in special 

cases they can. If the junior wants to win. You can 

ignore the offense-defense of bouncing off the 

ropes. On cement.” 

66 11 

“But even so, it's really hard for a junior to beat a 
senior. Because there is a referee. A large part of 
how the match turns out depends in the referee. 
They're just salary men, really, even if they call 
themselves referees. The companies don’t wrestle 
at a disadvantage. But even so, there are some 
wrestlers who win.” 

“And what happens when they do?” 

“Quite a bit, actually.” 

66 11 

“You'll have sanctions put against you if you ignore 
the theory behind wrestling.” 

“What kind of sanctions?” 

“There are some times when they will put you up 
against a much stronger opponent for a beating, 
and it also affects your salary. Sometimes the 
wrestling outfit will cut their contract with you. 
And maybe you might get attacked by a man with a 
knife as you walk home late at night...” 

[ 166 ] 


“But there are some people that make the big time 
by doing that. Just as long as they draw a crowd. 
Just as long as they are a wrestler that can generate 
some money. As long as you bring in the punters, 
and thus bring in the money, and the fans, the 
promoter will protect you.” 


“There are a lot of wrestlers that break legs and 
arms. That’s just lip service. If they really did 
break someone's leg or arm in he ring the mass 
media would be all over it in no time. That’s for 

Date looked at Bunshichi but remained silent. 

There was a self-deprecating smile that shone 
through his eyes. 

“We’re getting off track. You were talking about 

“Oh, yeah.” 

“You were saying that you wanted to storm the ring 
and take on Kajiwara.” 

“That I did.” 

“That won’t be easy...” said Date, glancing away 
from Bunshichi. The slim cherry blossom branches 
moved with the wind. 

“You've really got to put on a show, and even if 
you do get out there you no one will know who you 

are.” Bunshichi grinned as Date spoke. 

“Something funny?” asked Date. 

“I didn’t pick you to be such a serious person,” 
said Bunshichi. Date grinned. The cloth around his 
head was stained red with blood. But his smile 
disappeared with the gentle breeze. 

“The Hokushinkan, huh?” He said, spitting the 
word out into the wind. 

“Do you have a history with them?” asked 


“I've fought that Matsuo before, you know. In the 

“Matsuo Shozan check name?” 



“A while ago. When we were in the central pro¬ 
wrestling circuit. I was a lot younger then. It was 
only my second year wrestling. I told you before 
that I was in it for the money, but that wasn’t 

entirely true. I really wanted to get stronger. I was 
confident, too. At the time I thought I was the best 
fighter in my circle.” Date wasn't looking at 
Bunshichi anymore. His eyes were gazing out into 
the darkness and the wind. “And then Matsuo 
came. Just like you. He came to challenge the 

“Did he?” 

“Yeah. I was his opponent. Just me. No one else 
wanted to fight him and I was the top fighter out 
who was left at the club.” 


“I lost. Utter defeat.” Date drew back his lips to 
expose his teeth as he spoke. They were white and 
sturdy. “These aren’t my teeth. Matsuo knocked 
them all out,” said Date. A vision of Date with a 
bloody mouth appeared in the back of Bunshichi's 
head. “He messed me up with his punches and his 
kicks, then got me at the end with a shoulder-hold. 

There has only be one man who stepped out of the 
ring without a scratch - Kawabe's words floated 

through Bunshichi's mind. That might have been 
Matsuo Shozan. 

[ 168 ] 

“He's not human. But he's not a beast either. That's 
the impression he gave me. He's huge. He felt like 
a ball of pure strength. If he takes anyone on, even 
the strongest of the strong, who had trained for 
years, he would still beat them. Pro wrestlers are 
nothing compared to him. You'll know that power 
when you see it. I couldn’t see it when I took him 
on. I couldn’t see how far apart we were in terms 
of power. That's when I gave up on trying to be 
strong, and became a wrestler for money.” Said 
Date. Something stirred inside of Bunshichi. 
“Matsuo Shozan...” his voice grew a little horse as 
he mumbled the name. 


[ 168 ] 

The arena was engulfed in the excitement and 
energy corning from over three thousand people. 
The Korakuen Hall. It was packed with spectators, 
some o which had to stand. Date, who was using 
the name Raging Bull, along with the Crazy Dog, 
had just finished a tag team match against 
Kawafuta and Wakabayashi from the East-West 
Wrestling federation. There was a ten minute 
interval they called ’ring maintenance'. 

Halfway through the fight, Date and Dog grabbed 
some weapons and drew blood from Kawafuta's 
face. It was an amazing fight. Kawafuta was 
smacked down in the middle of the ring, unable to 
move, and Date had slammed his body down on 
him countless times. Then Wakabayashi had come 

flying in from the corner and landed a kick in 
Date's back. 


That's when the arena went wild. The amount of 
excitement and encouragement had crossed the line 
of what was normal for an event like this and had 
started to get out of hand. Regardless of the stops 
in place, it was starting to boil over. The crowd 
was going wild, and the wrestlers were following 

Dog was full of tension and had moved himself 
around well, but the biggest reason for the 
commotion was because Kajiwara's match was 
next. Date had finally found a weapon, and when 
he went to get it he had been distracted by the ref, 
and then had taken a fly-kick. That was when Date 
and Dog had lost due to a rule violation. 

Futakawa, who had his head split open, and 
Wakabayashi had their hands raised by the ref and 
won, but on that day, there were no losers. They 
had managed to push the fight beyond that of a 
simple wrestling match. They had managed to get 
the crowd into the action without any of the 
wrestlers getting injured, and would now be on 
their way to the semi-finals. The fight still lingered 
in the air. 

Bunshichi was standing at the foot of the catwalk. 
From there he was looking out over the ring, which 
was illuminated with bright light. It had a strange 
air to it. A ring with no one standing in it seemed to 
bright and a hollow. A vision of the man who 
should be standing in that ring floated in the back 
of Bunshichi's mind. A man whose skin sagged just 
a little bit. He wasn't the type with a muscle 
crammed body, and his skin gleamed like the 
scales of a snake. Kajiwara. 

Bunshichi rolled he man’s name around in his 

mouth. It felt strange. The vision that floated in 
Bunshichi’s head was of those big round eyes he 
saw six years ago. 

[ 170 ] 

Those eyes that turned sharp and piercing as soon 
as he stepped into the ring. They were thin like a 
snake's eyes. The only things he could think about 
was his face and that he had a body like raw 
rubber. Bunshichi wondered how much he had 

Bunshichi stopped thinking about it. He only had 
five minutes. He felt strange when he thought about 
Kajiwara. He really asked himself if he really 
wanted to take him on again. There were times 
when that black flame that burned all through his 
body was finally starting to cool down. He thought 
that he was being petty, acting like a child. 

It was just then that the searing pain shot through 

Bunshichi’s shoulder and was reborn in the same 
place. He thought about that pain, remembered 
Kajiwara as he would have looked down at him as 
he was panting. And of course the fire lit by the 
humiliation of defeat. No matter how you looked at 
it, right now Bunshichi could not think about 
anything without thinking about Kajiwara as well. 

Bunshichi thought about the look Date had given 
him as he got down from the ring. “Here”, that 
night Date pointed to his forehead with his finger. 

It was in Date's room in the hotel. They were 
sitting there sharing a bottle of whiskey that came 
with the room. Ryoji was there too, drinking a 
whiskey mixed with water. Blood was no longer 
flowing from the wound in Date's head. 

Raw red flesh hung from the spot where Date had 
used his finger on himself. 

[ 171 ] 

“Do it here,” said Date. 

“Bleed a lot, even if you only have light wounds. 
There isn't as much damage for the amount of 
blood. If you're aiming at getting in the ring, do it 
here. You have to do it in the first hit. There won’t 
be a next time. There will be a bunch of young guys 
all over you. But those young guys probably won’t 
know what to do straight away. You need to take 
them out before they realize that you jumping in the 
ring isn’t part of the show. They’ll beat you half to 
death if they catch you. They'll really mess you up. 
No matter how strong you are.” 

“I understand.” 

“If your aim isn't to hurt Kajiwara, then get the hell 
out of there. Try to get him to bleed as quick as you 


“A TV crew will be there on the day. They will be 
recording. There might even be some sports-mag 
reporters there as well. And the guy that Kajiwara 
is going to face. Whatever you do, don’t jump in 

there while the fight is on. It’s too far to try and 

make it to the exit, and people always complain 

about coming in second. You need to be close to 

the exit when you get out of there.” 

66 11 

“If you're not too messed up, and even if you don’t 
want it to happen, the east-west wrestling 
federation is going to look for you. When that 
happens, get in touch with the wrestling worlds 
mass media, and tell them that you were the one 
that jumped in the ring with Kajiwara and that you 
want to take him on again. If it all goes to plan, you 
might get a better result that you thought. But then 
you will have to get back into a east-west pro 
wrestling ring.” 

“That doesn’t sound easy.” 

“If you don’t want to do that, you could always 
challenge Kajiwara to a fight somewhere private. 
You might be surprised how willing he is. Don’t 
know what Kawabe will have to say about it, 


[ 172 ] 

“Well whatever you do, there is no guarantee it 
will go as planned. There are a lot of ins-and-outs 
in this business. There isn't much more I can do for 
you now. I’ll just get myself a good seat on the day. 
It doesn’t have anything to do with me whatever 
happens between the you and Kajiwara. I'm only 
going there as a spectator.” Date's words lingered 
in Bunshichi's ears. 

The lights of the arena finally dropped. The arena 
was draped in darkness. The only lights in the 
building shone onto the ring. A fast and intense 
rock beat sounded out from within the darkness. 
The arena exploded with energy. The sound of the 
crowd was unreal. A deep sound echoed in the pit 
Bunshichi’s stomach. 


“KA-JI-WA-RA” People were putting extra 
emphasis on the first part of the name and clapping. 

The voices quickly filled up the arena. Kajiwara 
had lost the championship belt in a fight in 
America just before corning home to Japan. He had 
come home dethroned, but it seemed that the fans 
already knew. 

Suddenly a bright spotlight fell just behind where 
Bunshichi was standing. The half naked body in the 
spotlight started moving in time with the rhythm 
Kajiwara wasn't wearing a robe or a gown or 
anything like that. He looked just the same as he 
did when he was in the middle of a fight. He had 
on a pair or wrestling boots over a pair of 
wrestling pants. 

He had his head facing downwards while he 
casually jogged towards the ring. From left and 
right, there were children and adults cheering him 

[ 173 ] 

The young men in front carved a line through the 
crowd. Kajiwara walked straight past the side of 
Bunshichi. Bunshichi could hear his labored 
breathing in the darkness. Bunshichi’s heart 
suddenly started beating in time with Kajiwara's 
breathing. His muscles suddenly warmed up for 
some reason. The lower part of his thick back 
muscles began to shake. 

Kajiwara stood silently in the corner of the ring as 
the announcer introduced the fighters. Bunshichi 
could only make out Kajiwara's back. Kajiwara 
was hanging his head in shame, you could tell that 
just from looking at him. But Bunshichi knew. He 
knew that those snake-like eyes were glaring up at 
his foreign opponent. 

Bunshichi couldn’t make out the name of the foreign 
opponent. Bunshichi had all his attention on 
Kajiwara's back. Kajiwara's body and his face 
were more or less the same as when Bunshichi 
first fought him. He saw that back, like raw rubber. 

But there was a certain air that hung around 
Kajiwara. It was everything else around him that 
had changed. Just like Bunshichi, Kajiwara was no 
longer the man he once was. Bunshichi wondered 
if Kajiwara remembered him. I’m here. That's what 
he thought to Kajiwara. There was no mistaking 
that Kajiwara had no idea what Bunshichi was 
going to do once he had finished his match. 
Bunshichi clenched his teeth. 

A thick, wild smile formed on his lips. The teeth 
that poked out his hanging lips made a grinding 
sound. It was a few seconds after the gong rang to 
indicate the start of the match. Kajiwara started 
kicking. His right leg flew up of the canvas. His 
sharp toes struck his opponent and then flew up 
even higher in the air. It was an impressive kick, 
even for a well trainer karate fighter. The crowd 
went wild “KAJIWARA!” 

Bunshichi let out voice that was almost a scream 

Kajiwara had that snake-like like look in his eyes 
as he looked down on his opponent, who now lay 
crumpled on the mat. 


[ 174 ] 


[ 175 ] 

The three men entered the Hokushinkan director 

room. These were the main directors: Matsuo 
Shozan himself, followed by Himekawa Tsutomu 
and, surprisingly, by Kawabe from Toyoo Pro- 
Wrestling. The three of them sat down on the big 
sofa as all of their attention was on a large 
television screen bolted to the adjacent wall. 

Switching on the television, they could view the 
broadcast directly from the pro-wrestling arena in 
Korakuen Hall. The match was just beginning, the 
first minute and fifteen seconds: Kajiwara 
submitted his opponent and made short work of 
him; in this moment he was exiting the ring. The 
announcer’s voice could barely be heard among 
the screaming hordes of fans. 

This pro-wrestling match was incredibly fast in 
reaching its conclusion, as expected, the triumphal 
return of one of the fiercest wrestlers, although it 
wasn’t the norm for a main event to finish so 
quickly. Kajiwara didn’t pull any punches on this 
fight; he got right down to business. The single arm 

lock, a popular locking technique among Judokas, 
jujutsu practitioners and the mixed martial artist, 
was put upon the opponent with such ferocity that 
he had to give up the match or risk a miserable 

Led by a young man, Kajiwara was walking towai 
Suddenly, he stopped. 

There was a man that stood in front of Kajiwara, f 
“Who is this idiot?” Kajiwara thought to himself. 

The man held out his right hand and uttered someti 
[ 176 ] 

The crowd was stirred into frenzy and rushed the 

In a flash, the man struck Kajiwara's forehead, so 

The dense humanity that blocked the exit had Kaji 1 

Escalating to the border between passionate 
reporting and screeching, the announcer began 
repeating the same words from the crowd. 

“Who was he!!?” “Why did he do it!!?” “Is Kajiwa 
Besides that, he couldn’t say anything else.. .unable 
to say anything else. 

Kawabe, who was supposed to be a guest commei 

The announcer, who was supposed to be informed 
of the intruder's name at the moment he was 
scripted to barge in, shouted in a different tone that 
gave away the fact that it was an unscripted assault 
by an unknown man. Eventually, the broadcast 
showed the list of matches and names of wrestlers 
that were going to be featured in next week's show. 

“I guess you do it like this, correct?” Kawabe sai 

Matsuo Shozan waited a few minutes for Kawabe 
to return to his seat, after a brief pause he said with 
a deep voice. 

“So, that's Bunshichi Tanba.” 

Kawabe and Himekawa nodded. 

[ 177 ] 

“He's the intruder...” 

Shozan was looking at Himekawa and Kawabe wil 

“Looks interesting, to think that he would go as far 
“He's pretty skilled, also very tough” Himekawa re 

After a few minutes while Kawabe was silent, 
Shozan asked. 

“How’s Kajiwara?” 

“Nothin’ serious.. .bleedin’ a lot, but....” Kawabe 

“What kind of weapon was used in the assault?” 

“Several bundles of forks wrapped in wires. The> 

"Does Kajiwara know who the opponent was?" 
"He does now." 

"Why now....?" 

“On the day of the filming, everyone kept their mo 
“High-as-fuck-spirits, eh?” 

“Yeah, that night, he yelled at me demanding why 

“Hmmm...such a young guy” Shozan muttered with 

“So, what's gonna happen now?” 

"What Tanba Bunshichi did was brilliant, but 
luckily, his face wasn’t exposed by the camera for 
too long, so talk-about relieving that nobody 
noticed a goddamned thing." Kawabe said with a 


“The one that assaulted Kajiwara wasn’t Tanba, it v 
“Hiroshi Nagata!?” 

"A wrestler of the same class as Kajiwara, and he’ 
“Hohohoho!!” Matsuo answered with some laughs, 

[ 178 ] 

“When he showed up about three years ago, he wa 
“I see...” 

“We picked up a guy, a guy that resembles Tanba ti 
“ Hmm ....” 

“The person who assaulted Kajiwara was Nagata. 
“I was wonderin’ if, perhaps, some of the fans of t 
“There's always that chance, but even if they were 
“So, it was Nagata...yea?” 


“So it’s safe to assume we’re stickin’ to it?” 
“Yeah, we've been building the story line since ye 
“What? What kind of story line’s that?” 

“Nagata is a wrestler from the same class as Kaji\ 
“That’s very good...” 


“"We've got it covered then, right?"” 

“If that's true, then it'd be better if Tanba keeps it f 

[ 179 ] 

“He wouldn’t have a problem going to the media, 1 
“Yeah, we’re thinking the same thing.” 


“It would be beneficial if there were more guys c 
“But then, Tanba would do something even more ex 

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” 

After hearing that, Kawabe stared silently at his 
right hand, which had the index finger wrapped in 

a thick white bandage. 

“I heard that Tanba was defeated once by a wrestl 

Kawabe made a tight fist with his right hand, 
leaving the injured finger out. 

“He did this....” Kawabe continued “But I'm not an 

Kawabe's face became sour, looking as though it 
was turning to stone. 

“Regardless of his talent and brazenness, I have a 
“Pfiffttt.. .Hahahaha!... ” 

“But, do we know the right guy for the job?” 

“The right guy for the job?” 

“Crazy Dog, he's a foreigner that dreams to fight ii 

“I wonder if that would work, would it, do you thin 

“It will, even if something crazy were to happen, I c 

[ 180 ] 

“When I said “I wonder if that would work” I was 

“What if the foreigner loses to Tanba? Have you c 
“I don’t really know, but even if he loses, it would 

“Would it be?” Shozan stood up sluggishly and sta 

“I was quite surprised when there was a call for n 

“It was because Kajiwara showed up; some of my 
“Just a few days ago in Shinjuku, some of my your 

“That's understandable...” Himekawa answered v 

"What about Shimura and Tsurumi?" 

“They have totally lost their cool. It seems that th< 
“The three defeated guys were from Shimura’s Dc 

“"That’s right. They're from the Nerima branch, to 
Himekawa's expression was somewhat indifferent. 
He didn’t seem to be too concerned about the 
incident as it had nothing to do with him. 

“Anyways if you excuse me. I’ll be heading out no 

[ 181 ] 

“I understand that if you’re here today it must be 

“Great Tatsumi is not the kind of person who woul 
“Only if he was the director of the organization.” 
“I see, I don’t think it'll be any good if they were tc 
“Yes, that's true” Kawabe replied. 

“ Pro-wrestling is the strongest martial art method 

“.” Kawabe looked at the ground for a second 

“Tatsumi said so because he couldn’t afford to ke( 
“Ain’t that right, Himekawa? You know...” Shozan 
Currently, The Hokushinkan Karate organization 
was engaged in a subtle rivalry with Toyoo pro¬ 
wrestling. When the Great Tatsumi claimed in a 
popular sports magazine that there was no 

strongest martial art in the world than pro¬ 
wrestling, the fire started to spark among fighting 
groups of Japan. This was based on the fact that 
various MMA practitioners challenged Toyoo pro¬ 
wrestling and were soundly defeated on the mat. 
This statement was doubted by Hokushinkan as 
they had no proof of such matches and they were 
curious about their actual fighting ability. 

To keep their reputation as the number one Karate 
organization in the world, The Hokushinkan could 
not accept Tatsumi’s statement out of the blue. 
Therefore they demanded to that sport magazine to 
denounce and detract the comment made in the 
previous edition. 

“That made an editor very heart-broken...” Shozar 

“ But when it comes to the heart of the issue, it is i 

“ I understand, Mr. Matsuo, that you are speaking 1 

[ 182 ] 

In just seconds, Kawabe's eyes became hard like a 
rock and the menacing glance was directed straight 
at Matsuo. In return to that, Matsuo answered with 
a think gentle smile. 

“Heh, well, I'll take that answer. For now...” 

“I appreciate it.” Kawabe answered in a dry tone 
A few moments after Kawabe left the place, 

Shozan crossed his arms for a while and stared 
into an empty space. 

“Say, Himekawa” speaking with a deep voice. 

“What is it?” 

“The world of Karate in Japan might have just sta 
Releasing his arms, he clenched his fists and starec 

“ But to think he had the balls to invade the arena ; 

“So it seems....” Himekawa said, while Shozan w; 

“Damn, this never ends, how troublesome.” 

“Troublesome? For you?” 

“Yes, Himekawa, I’m troubled.” 

“Hah!! why is that?” 

“Cause this things make me excited.” 

“Excited you say?” 

“Well, what would happen if I were to make a cor 

Looking at Matsuo Shozan, Himekawa saw him as 
excited as a little kid that's about to receive an 
awesome Christmas present. 

“It would be so much fun if I were to wear a mask 

“Hey, don’t get too many ideas about it, I still have 
Shozan relaxed his hands and once again placed it 
on the desk. 

“By the way, I got a call from Izumi yesterday.” 
[ 183 ] 

“Wait, you mean Izumi San, fromNara!!?” Himekz 
“Yes, it seems his daughter will arrive to Tokyo to 
“You mean Saeko San?” 

“Yes, Technically, she was supposed to come and 
“But what?...” 

“You know why is she coming here better than an> 


“What the hell's going on!!?” “Why do they say it w 

Ryoji threw the sport newspaper across the room.' 

Behind that dirty glass you could see the soft 
orange tone of the town's sunset. Since they were 
located in the second floor of the Inn. A nearby 
alley was so narrow, it seemed that the window 
was directly facing the wooden apartment building 
on the other side. The cheap cream colored 
painting was chipping off, giving the apartment a 
marginal look and sloppy appearance. It was most 
likely that the roof was going to leak if it rain, but 
they weren’t concerned about it. 

But the room that Bunshichi stayed in was not much 
different either. Originally, the front wall was 

white, but now, it turned somewhat brownish or 
even yellowish. A dark stain that looked like the 
pattern of a map was increasing in size too. Most 
likely it was caused by the rain that leaked through 
the ceiling. The pain was also peeling here and 
there, including a few prank doodles from some 
street kids. You could say you were looking at a 
surrealist piece of art. 

[ 184 ] 

“It doesn’t seem you are the least concerned. Aren't 

Trying to sound arrogant, Ryoji stood up from the 
other side of the table staring at Tanba. His lips 
sharpened and his face frowned. His teenager angst 
was appropriate of a young guy of his age. 

But Bunshichi had a calm demeanor and his eyes 
were quietly lost somewhere in the light outside. 

Since Ryoji didn’t get the reaction that he wanted 
from Tanba, He sulked and sat cross-legged. 

“Damn it!!” he muttered to himself. 

At his feet was that popular sports newspaper with 
a headline written in big red letters. 


There was an image of Hiroshi Nagata's full body, 
whose posture was almost copied from the posture 
that Bunshichi had. There was a close-up picture 
of him too, A face that also resembled much of 

If we were to compare Bunshichi and Nagata, 
Nagata would be somewhat younger but no more 
than three years or so. 

“I don't see what part of him resembles you, this is 

“Tell me the truth. He's more handsome than me, h 
“Tsk!! I don't know.” Ryoji placed his elbows on t 
“What a pity...” Bunshichi replied and looked onc< 

“The fact that I like to mess around and cause trou 

“I went as far as crashing the show, standing face 1 

“Well, it's not going to be that easy this time aroun 
“I don’t care about them” 

“So, what are you gonna do now, Old man?” 

“ I’ll be happy as long as I get to fight Kajiwara. It 

[ 185 ] 

“ Should I go and see him directly?” Murmured Bi 

“ Kajiwara, of course. In fact, that's what I should' 
“ So you're going to show up in front of him now, i 

Bunshichi stood up sluggishly. He didn’t look the s; 
His bare muscular upper body was shown and the 
width of his neck stood out on his thick rock solid 

“I'm going to Yokohama.” Bunshichi said while ta 
“He’ll be in Yokohama...” 

“That’s the place where Toyoo pro-wrestling will 

On Bunshichi’s back and belly, there was a big 
knife wound. The wound on his belly seemed to 
come from a knife that had been stabbed in deeply, 
Leaving a deep scar. There were also countless 
small injuries . 

The wound on his back started from his right 
shoulder and ran all the way to his left side, much 
like a diagonal line. 

By looking at it, you'd think that someone slashed h 
Reaching with his hand, he grabbed a bag in the 
corner of the room and opened the zipper. Taking 
the black trainer pants from inside, there were a 
few extra clothes. Depending on the angle that 
you'd look, the back of the clothes looked 
somewhat gray instead of its natural shiny black. 
This was because they were stained in different 
colors. Something like blood. Bunshichi started to 

put his trainers and his tank top shirt, these were 
the same clothes he used in the fight against 
Souichiro Izumi. 

[ 186 ] 

“Are you really gonna fight him tonight?” murmurc 

“Tonight is a big event, the guy might not even be i 

Taking out the sneakers from the bag, he put them 
on the tatami. The collar of the trainers that was 
recently washed was now tightened against his 
neck. Originally the collar was wide enough for 
people to wear it on, but Bunshichi's neck was too 
wide. He put both of his thick index fingers on the 
collar to spread it out. He was able to make it 
wide enough. 

“I'm going for a quick jog, I’ll be back in about thii 

“You too, get ready to leave after I come back. We 

He didn’t close the sliding door. He just walked 
out to the corridor. In the way he smelled 
something from the toilet. A strong smell of 
disinfectant invaded his nose. A few steps more 
and he found the staircase. Because of his huge 
body, he made a creaking sound on the stairs while 
he was walking down. 

Hearing the sound from a distance, Ryoji suddenly 
got a weird gut feeling and ran outside 

“Hey, old man!!” 

But the only sound he got in response was the glass 
door entrance being closed. 

Thirty minutes passed, but Tanba did not come 
back. Forty five minutes passed, fifty minutes 
passed but Bunshichi still had not come back. The 

room was now in complete darkness, because the 
darkness of the night took place as a silent guest. 

[ 187 ] 

“That damn idiot!!” Ryoji stood up in the darkness 
“That guy, he left by himself!!” 


“Wow, what a gorgeous room you have, you must 
love living here...” 

Said the gorgeous woman who was sitting down on 

a leather sofa. She had black straight hair that ran 
down to her shoulder. Her thick lips were covered 
in red lipstick and remained half opened after the 
last sentence she just said. After checking her 
surroundings, she sealed her lips again. After she 
sealed them, she was facing her front. At her sight 
was Himekawa Tsutomu, sitting in front of her with 
a sweet smile on his lips. 

His skin was soft and white and he also had red 
lips. His features were so delicate that in a quick 
glance you might have mistaken him for a woman. 
His hair also was as long and shiny as the woman 
in front of him. Giving him a close look, you might 
say he was pretty thin, but this was because he was 
tall. His arms were bigger than ordinary men and 
his chest was pretty thick. However, his body was 
usually covered tightly with black suits, so it was 

His toughness was chained under his elegant 

clothes but with his posture, it looked like he could 
suddenly jump and easily reach the ceiling. 

Nobody knew this, but inside his body there is an 
unusual spring power that was sleeping and he was 
waiting for the worthy day to wake it and make it 
explode. But in the meantime, keeping a calm 
demeanor and smiling all the time, he looked like a 
beautiful man. 

Saeko Izumi was the name of this beautiful 
Japanese woman that you could fall in love at first 
glance. The daughter of Izumi Souichiro. Aline 
lady with exquisite mannerisms. However, 
Himekawa knew that in bed, Saeko could quickly 
transform into a beast. She was a woman that was 
well versed in all kinds of sexual positions that 
could make you lose your mind. 

[ 188 ] 

That fact had been co nf irmed a million times by 
Himekawa's own body. She was the type that 
Himekawa liked the most. 

“Well, I can’t agree with you saying this is a 
“gorgeous room If you said it was an expensive 
room. I’d be a different story. But I picked just a 
few items that strike my fancy and decorated it 

with them” 

“Even so, it's still quite beautiful.” 

She noticed that the carpet was imported but she 
didn’t know what country it has been made but, 
judging from the furniture in the room, she knew 
this room was not the kind of place that a mere 
martial arts student, who lived by himself, would 
be able to afford. She moved her eyes up to the 

corner of the room first, then, her eyes returned to 
Himekawa's view. 

The smell of the room wasn't the one that you get 
when someone lives there. It was not dirty, and it 
looked like there had never been someone staining, 
cooking or making love there. So clean that you 
could almost lick the marble table. 

But Saeko wasn't in the mood to discuss the 
apartment’s design for much longer. 

“That was the first time I heard that Izumi Sensei 
had encountered Tanba.” Himekawa said. 

“Yeah, dad looks old all of a sudden, just because 
he lost that fight.” 

“But Izumi Sensei is not the only person that 
wanted to fight Tanba, the director too.” 

“Really? He must be a very skilled man, then.” 

“I know him, I saw his face and the way he 


“You do, Himekawa? I’m also tempted to meet 

him, the man called Bunshichi Tanba.” 

“Strangely, there are people capable to charm 
others in seconds, even the director was excited as 
a little kid, he has never met Tanba, yet, he has 

been in high spirits lately . 

“In high spirits you say?” 

“Like I say, he's like this big kid waiting for an 
exciting gift, he even started a secret training 

program for the actual fight.” 

“Really? He's going to challenge him?” 

“ I can’t tell you exactly about the director's true 
feelings. But rather than Tanba himself, I think he is 
seeing something larger than life in front of him” 

[ 189 ] 

Himekawa said these words without a hint of 
emotion or expression. 

“Larger than life?” Saeko asked. 


Himekawa made a big smile that show all his 

teeth. “That can be just a lucky guess of mine.” 

“I just wonder about that really, I haven’t been 

able to comprehend that man fully.” 

“What about my father?” 

“I know Izumi San, he was a great martial artist.” 

“Until he was defeated by Bunshichi Tanba.” 

“Quite ruthless, aren't you?” 

“I mean no disrespect but that’s the truth. I didn’t 
mean to look down on Izumi San or anything. But a 
martial artist that calls himself “a master ” should 

not lose, ever.” 

“What about the director, Matsuo Shozan.” 

“The director is a great man, because he has 
never been defeated.” 

“Not even once?" 

“Not even once." Himekawa said this clearly. 
“Izumi Sensei shouldn’t have fought Tanba, 

because he didn’t know anything about politics.” 

“It's just an example. Meanwhile, Matsuo Shozan 
got what it takes to win the challenge.” 

“What do you mean?” 

“Even though Izumi Sensei had the desire to fight 
a strong man, he did not embrace that desire to the 

point of wanting to unify the martial arts world.” 

Saeko was staring at Himekawa, who smiled 

“Have you lost?” 



[ 190 ] 


“Ever since you were little?” 

“That's right.” Said Himekawa while smiling. 
“Although, there were times when I didn’t enjoy 
fighting because my arm was broken off...” 

“Your arm...broke off..?” 

“Even so, I did not lose.” 

“How so?” 

“I’m not as stupid as to fight stronger or better 
opponents than me, I rather walk away from that. I 
only fight the ones that I'm certain I can win 


“But there must be times when you didn’t have the 
option of running away from the fight, what would 

you do then?” 

“In that case, I wouldn’t resist. If I didn’t fight, I 
wouldn’t lose anyway. Even if they broke my arm 

in the process.” 

Himekawa said this with an air of coolness whike 
Saeko's big eyes gave him a slight surprised 

“Let me get this straight, You didn’t do anything 
and just endured while your arm was broken?” 
“That’s right.” 

“When I become stronger than the opponent who 
broke my arm, then I'll avenge the injury that I 
sustained because of him by winning the fight. If 
you train with that goal in mind, not only you'll be 
able to train with all your passion and might, but 
also look for the next stronger opponent that you 

can stand a chance in the new level.” 

Saeko didn’t say anything. All of a sudden she 
thought she saw a demon inside the smiles of 

“Who do you think broke my arm?” Himekawa 

asked. Saeko shook her head with a puzzled face. 
Himekawa embraced her, got his mouth closer to 

her ear and whispered softly.... 

“It was Matsuo Shozan...” 

After that, he let her go and took a step back while 
smiling, Himekawa's smiles were giving Saeko 


She saw that demon, it's power and destruction. 
Looking at his eyes. There was a world without 

[ 191 ] 

“It seems that Shimura San and Tsurumi San are 
targeting you too, right?” 

“Those two? PffL.Hahaha, They're useless.” 
“They said they wanted to fight Bunshichi Tanba 

no matter what.” 

“Is that because three of Shimura's disciples got 
beaten up, right? You probably heard about that.” 
“finjust here to tell you about my father's state 

and will, whatever they do is up to them.” 

“Aren’t you a little bit insensitive about your 
father’s condition?” 

“My Father and I are way different. He sacrificed 
all his time and effort to martial arts without regard 

for his family. 

It seems that my mother died because of that. But 
that doesn't mean I hold a grudge or hate my father, 
after all, he's the one that taught me to live the way 
I enjoy to live. 

“Is that so?” 

“For that very reason too, I don't think my father 
would ask me to return to live with him if I 

decided to remain in Tokyo.” 

For all the moment they were talking, Saeko finally 
faced Himekawa and smiled to him for the first 


Himekawa stood up completely naked, in front of 
him was Saeko, kneeling down naked, as expected. 
With the soft lights turned on, one could see two 
beautiful naked bodies throwing themselves into 

His body was hard and tough. He didn’t have too 
many big muscles but they were lean and tight. If 
you were to touch his body, under that smooth skin 
you'd verily that his muscles were very flexible. 

Saeko was charmed by this and closed her eyes, 
then, slowly she started to kiss the many parts of 
his groin area. Both her hands were approaching 
towards the hard area by exploring the sides. 
While her lips were clinging on his manhood, she 
put down her fingers and tried to swallow him 
more. His tip was supposed to thrust all the way to 
her throat. 

[ 192 ] 

She slowly pulled back her lips, making that wet 
shaft come into sight. She started kissing his 
member from his sensitive part up to the edge, she 
even bit it softly. Pursing it into her cheek and 

twisting her face. Her tongue moved from the 
bottom up to the top without leaving a single area 
untouched. Himekawa's hands were buried deep 
into Saeko’s hair. 

He started moving her head back and forth into his 
groin. It was unclear if Himekawa was keeping the 
rhythm or if she was moving her body on her own. 

Saeko's buttocks could be seen shaking a little as 
she was moving her head. Removing her mouth, 
she opened her eyes and look up to Himekawa. 

“Do it.” Saeko said with a sensual voice. 

She pressed the floor with her two hands and lifted 
her butt. Himekawa turned to her back and started 
caressing her chest from behind. There was a dirty 
scene for a moment and something seem to burst 
from inside her flower. She was finally wet enough 
for him to enter inside of her. 

“Do it...” she started sounding more desperate thai 

“Do it....” she said it again. 

“Do it to me, here” her fingers opened her flower 
“Come inside of me...” 

[ 193 ] 

Himekawa finally gave in and started kneeling. Jui 
Saeko grabbed Himekawa's hard manhood with 
her hand that was so wet from being inside of her 
and pressed it to her own. 

“Do it to hard as you can!!” 

At the moment that Himekawa started thrusting, 
Saeko finally turned into a white roaring beast. 
Crawling hungry on top of the carpet. Her breasts 
were held by Himekawa's hands. Saeko Crawled 
herself from the carpet to the sofa and lifted up her 

upper body. Moving her arms, twisting her body 
and exposing her breasts. Her moans of pleasure 
were louder and louder. 

Shortly after, she surrounded her arms into 
Himekawa's collar. She twisted her head, sticked 
out her tongue and joined her lips together. Her 
long, red tongue seemed to dance around, trying to 
lick something in the air. 

Thirty minutes had passed since they got naked 
when a phone call interrupted the passionate scene. 
Himekawa slowly disentangled himself from 
Saeko who circled her arms on him underneath. 


Saeko let a tiny moan of disappointment go and 
lifted her upper body. But then she started crawling 
trying to chase Himekawa's shaft into her mouth. 
She was able to capture it just before he lifted the 
phone and answered the call. 

“Hi, sir...We found Bunshichi Tanba!!” said the mr 

“What!? Where is he!!? is he in Yokohama!!?” 
“That's right, sir...” 

“I knew it....As long as Kajiwara is participating 

[ 194 ] 

“Tell me his location.” 

“He's in front of the Toukai Kankou hotel. Tanba is 

“He's wearing black trainers, you say?” 

Himekawa had the image of the day when 
Bunshichi met Izumi Souichiro in Nara fresh and 
burned into his memory. 

He was also wearing black trainers in that day too 

“Is he planning to fight Kajiwara seriously!!? 

Himekawa's lips, that were inundated with the 
pleasant feeling of Saeko’s lips, got tense 

“What does he have against Kajiwara!!?” 

“His TV match is over , so he's staying at the hotel 

“After that Shimura San and Tsurumi San went to t 

“I’ll be there soon.” Himekawa said with a hasty \ 

Both of his hands hugged Saeko who was still 
chewing. He secured Saeko's head and she moved 
it wildly. 

During their intimate moment, the only person who 
appeared in Himekawa's mind was Bunshichi 


Wearing some comfortable trainers that had the “7o 


He left the hotel around 10:30. A normal athlete 
would take the night off and rest all day the next 
day. It was not recommendable for them to train 
right after the match was over, let alone going out 
at night for some jogging like Kajiwara. But it was 
a habit for him. Kajiwara was always training 
even in his spare time. Even after or before 
matches, that issue didn’t concern him much and 
never had an effect on him. 

Kajiwara never suffered from over exerting 
himself. He was tough enough to bear the soft pain 
of an injury every now and then, he forgot about his 
resistance and he just continued his routine as one 
would watch TV or sit in the sofa to read a book. 
Before jogging, he did some bending and stretching 
in front of the hotel and took off 

His pace was fast and constant. To avoid running 
into pedestrians, he was alternating between the 
street and the sidewalk. 

A little after running beyond the downtown lights, 
he passed a big shadow of a man that started 
following his pace of running, lining up next to 
him. Yes, it was that man, Bunshichi Tanba. 

He was silent and both men ran side by side. A 
passerby that came in front of them moved out of 
the way. The city lights were even more distant, 
lighting their backs as they ran. Although Kajiwara 

was a tall man, with a simple look, their body 
weight was about the same. 

“So, you finally came, huh?” 

“That’s correct” Bunshichi answered. 

They were silent for a while, while still running 
side by side at the same pace. When they suddenly 
arrived to a busy street with a red light, both of 
them stopped there. The light turned to green and 
both men crossed. 

After crossing the signal,they stood up in the 
sidewalk. Beyond the light, there was an asphalt 
road that both of them followed. Gradually the 
scene got darker and darker until, eventually, the 
whole street was just illuminated by the moon. 

They did not run anymore. 

[ 196 ] 

Shoulder to shoulder, they started walking calmly 
and silently. 

“How's your wound?” Bunshichi asked 

“ It healed alright, it wasn't a big deal at all.” 

“I see...” Bunshichi answered, then kept his 
silence for a little while. 

There was an air of opportunity that was blending 
with the wind, “a sudden attack? Is he waiting for 

“Damn, it was close...” Bunshichi answered with 
a smile. 

“Close? What are you talking about?” 

“The belt. The champion belt you got in America. 
That return match was for the purpose of going 

back and taking it once again, isn’t it?” 

“That’s not true, actually I just gave it away.” 
“What!? You...?” 

“If you get a national champion title over there, 
you cannot afford to come back to Japan, unless 
you pay a high price for a few months off, 
otherwise, they will keep booking you for title 
defenses over and over, there's great demand for 

rematches there.” 

“Man, it is so confusing, the business deal of 

“That is true...unlike us....” 

Kajiwara suddenly appeared as the one that seized 
that chance, when his words were stolen by the 

Everything got quiet.... 

“You surprised me over there.” This time, it was 
Kajiwara the one that started the conversation. 


“Right at the moment when you appeared in front 
of me in the Korakuen hall.” 

“Because it was so sudden and unexpected, was 

“ At first, I didn’t notice it was you, but then, you 
raised your hand and everything came back to 


“Yeah, that's when I tried to...” 

“Nobody told me you went to the old Kawabe's 

“What if you knew?” 

“Then I would have been waiting for you, ready 
to fight you once again, in your favorite place.” 
“That means, you're pissed off about it, eh?” 

[ 197 ] 

“You're correct.” Kajiwara answered, somewhat 
bored and absentminded. 

“Why is that?” 

“ I don’t understand, why didn’t you come to me 
first!? Why did you have to take a detour and make 
things more complicated? It’d have been better for 
me if you have come and ambushed me here in the 
middle of the night, without the drama that has 


“I should have done that...uh?” 

“Man, do you like the drama and the crowds 

screaming that much?” 

“Hahahah...Maybe...” Bunshichi laughed a little. 
“To be honest, I was a little freaked out by you, 
scared even...” 

“Scared of me? Really?” 


6t 59 

“That evening, when we met at the Korakuen 

hall, all I could think was what would I have done 
if I were to attack you, I kept wondering about...” 

“About what?” 

“Dunno, about what kind of fight were you 
offering, would you counter attack if I attacked 
you? If I took advantage before you could recover? 
If to accept your challenge and listen to your 
conditions? Do we fight with rules or with all our 
might and tricks? In the ring or out of it? Those 

kind of things...” 

“Ah, I see...” 

“One can never be too sure about you, you might 
have pricked my eyes all of a sudden. Or kicking 
me in the balls. If you were to fight down and dirty, 

I would have done the same too, screw rules.” 

“I'm very relieved.” Bunshichi answered calmly. 


“To hear that you were scared of me.” 

“Hahah, ain’t that funny?” 

“I was scared of you too. Even now.” 

“Hahah, hrnrnm... Sure...” Kajiwara relaxed a 

little and let a smile sneak through his lips. 

The smell of opportunity has gotten stronger and 
more intense. 


“You'd be surprised, there are a lot of killer tricks 
in pro-wrestling, as in everything. But they're 
deemed too dangerous and it is discouraged to use 

them on the ring.” 

“Like what?” 

“Don’t ask that, you know they're secret.” 

“Ohh, I see where this is going.” 

“The moment you discover them, it will be when 

we have an all-out fight.” 

“All-out? You want a fight like that? Or maybe...” 

Bunshichi asked with a suspicious tone. 

This tone was to sense at what level Kajiwara 
wanted to take the fight. Kajiwara understood what 
Tanba was implying and tried to make sure about 

his real intentions. 

“We can make it exciting but I don't want us 
necessarily to kill each other.” Said Kajiwara. 

“Same here...” answered Bunshichi, then quietly 
added “Even though, the result will be that one of 
us will end up dead.” Kajiwara nodded in silence 

while they were quietly walking away. 

This stroll continued in silence for a long time. The 
darkness directed Kajiwara's body heat to 
Bunshichi, who was walking next to him He even 
could hear the sound of Kajiwara's breathing 


The feeling wasn’t there, the one when you tell 
yourself “I’ll kick this guy's ass now!!” They 
enjoyed the conversation along the way, and it 
seemed that they were walking and looking for an 
affordable bar to continue the chat. 

He could hear his sound in the dark, while looking 
at the bright ocean that was illuminated by the 
moon and stars above. Walking forward a little, 
Tanba distinguished dots of lights. It was 
Yamashita park, since both of them entered it, 
Tanba decided to ask something. 

“Could you tell me one thing?” 

“What is it? 

“When we fought last time, why didn’t you break 

“That time?” 

[ 199 ] 

“When we fought for the first time, you had more 
than enough chances to break my arm” 

“That time, eh?” 

“Yes...” Bunshichi said with determination in his 
eyes, Kajiwara didn’t say anything. He seemed to 
be trying to remember something then he sighed 

and said. 

“A little while ago, I did it...” 

“You did it?” 

“Yeah, in the opening performance show, 
Probably you've hear the name of the guy. Hiroshi 


“You broke Nagata's arm? ” 

“The guy didn’t give up. He’d lost his cool. I just 
pulled a little more and it was broken.” 

“ It was a disgusting sound, I could hear it all 

from my hand to my guts.” 

“Hah, Hah...” Bunshichi smiled a little. Kajiwara 
turned to Bunshichi, then He moved back to face 

the darkness ahead of him. 

“I will shatter it now.” Kajiwara stopped for the 

first time since they started walking. 

Bunshichi, who was walking a little ahead of him, 
stopped and turned around looking at his face. 
Now they were finally facing each other. 

“Do you want to fight here?” Bunshichi asked 
bluntly. But Kajiwara shook his head. 

“ Didn’t you hear what I said? I told you it was 
complicated. This is not just my problem anymore. 
More people got involved now and Toyoo pro¬ 
wrestling lied to the press and the media. The 
number of people involved with this issue has 

increased. ” 

“I see, so the big guy that has been following us 
for a while, he’s also...? 


“Hah, hah, This is so predictable, the dude is so 
huge, he's unsuitable to tail anyone without being 

spotted. ” 

“Kawabe said that if you beat him without being 
broken in the end, then we can fight.” 

[ 200 ] 

“Hahahah... One detail that escaped Kawabe's 
mind, though. What if I decided to kick you ass 

right now? What would you do, then?” 

“I don't care either way, but I’m not the one that 
will attack you first, he is. You attack me and you'll 
have to fight both of us at the same time. A poor 
idea considering the fact that he has fought in New 
York and honed his skills there for some time. If 

you decide to go ahead, then, this will hardly be a 
match of skills.” 

“Damn that Kawabe, I guess I owe him this match 
for bending his finger.” 

“I’m going to train a little and I'll be back in about 
an hour or so. If you're still in the mood for fighting 
me, then just come. But you still need to defeat that 

guy first.” 

“You have plenty of energy left for what I can 

“If I don’t exhaust myself at the end of the day, 
then I can't sleep well. That's how I do it.” 
Kajiwara said this while giving a deep look at 
Bunshichi. Once he said this, he turned around 
slowly and walked a few steps before starting 
jogging again. It would seem that his figure was 
swallowed by the darkness and disappeared soon 


Bunshichi turned slowly and there it was, a giant 

shadow waiting for him. 

It was a tall, blond man with long hair, he must 
have been about 6.5” Ft. tall. A giant with blue 
eyes that stared silently at Bunshichi while getting 
closer to him, you could only heard his steps and 
the wind around the trees. He was like a mad dog 
when he fought, that earned him the nickname of 
“Crazy Dog” in the fighting circles. His shiny eyes 
were glowing in the darkness while staring at 
Bunshichi, when he got close enough. He stopped, 
smiled a little and then laughed loudly. 

He reeked of alcohol and cheap cigarettes, that 
smell reached Bunshichi quick enough. With a 
quick glance, Bunshichi assessed the man that he 
was about to fight. By his looks, he was 6’5” Ft. 
and about 240 lbs estimated on his build. 
Compared to Bunshichi, he had an advantage of 66 
lbs. of pure muscle for what it looked like. The 
man was wearing a comfy business suit and his 
chest was wide open. You could see a bush of 
golden hair over the hard muscles. 

Bunshichi got ready for the fight, bending his knee 
slowly and lowering his stance, he already 
decided his moves for the opening and counter¬ 
attacks. But the scene got interrupted by a loud 
scream in the darkness. 

“WAIT!!” A deep and solid voice was heard. 

Two men appeared behind Crazy Dog. These guys 
were a tad shorter than Bunshichi but their height 
was still close to the 6”0. Ft. It was obvious that, 
in regard to fighting, these weren’t ordinary men. 

[ 201 ] 

When they advanced, their steps didn’t make 
sounds. Being men with excellent footwork, 
probably martial artists with thirst for blood at 
whatever price it might come. Both of them moved 
slowly and stood right in the middle. Back-to- 
back, One faced Crazy Dog, the other glared at 

Bunshichi. Both of them had exceptionally sharp 

“I'm Shimura, from Hokushinkan.” Said the man 

that stood in front of Bunshichi. 

“I want to have a fight with you, Tanba 


“What!? With me?” 

“The man behind me is Tsurumi, we both have 
been informed that you were the guy that took 
down our students in Shinjuku. Izumi-sensei was 
the one that told us. That’s reason enough to 

challenge you without delay!!” 

“Well, I’m in the middle of something right now. If 
you don’t mind. I’ll fight you another day. Gotta 

finish this first.” 

“ I won’t accept that!!” 

“Come on!! I’m not gonna run away.” 

“We’re gonna fight, right here, right now!!” The 

man was determined in his answer. 

Crazy Dog was confused and had a perplexed look 
that quickly turned into anger. 

“Get the fuck outta my way!!” he roared. 

The guy fought so many hard battles in the past. 
And, by his own might and talent, he had gotten 
himself a main event at the Madison Square 
Garden arena in New York. His pride never let 
anyone get in his way and this wasn’t going to be 
the exception either. The giant walked around 
Tsurumi without touching him. Being so close to a 
taller man, Tsurumi wasn't scared and he figured 
that, if the giant tried something funny, he would 
deliver a solid kick in the groin area and the giant 
would be done for. 

All of a sudden, Crazy Dog held Tsurumi’s 
shoulders with pressing power. That’s when it 

[ 202 ] 

Tsurumi kicked his right leg to the ground to launch 
his attack. The force and speed of his attack was 
amazing, His kick was directed at Crazy Dog's 
groin area. The contact made a cracking sound. 

The movement of Tsurumi's leg stopped midway 
because Crazy Dog checked the kick with his giant 
knees that were surprisingly fast. Crazy Dog 
laughed out loud before delivering a devastating 
head-butt to Tsurumi that was barely blocked and 
answered with a solid punch. 

That was the start of the fight. 


The wind that came from the ocean was so cold 

that it created a chilling atmosphere. A taxi 
stopped right at Yamashita park and a man walked 
out from it. It was Himekawa Tsutomu. As soon as 
he walked and entered the park, he sat down on the 
bench close to a big tree's shadow. Looking 
around, he only noticed a couple walking away. 
Those were the only human figures he could 
distinguish. Moving further, he kept walking and 
started looking at the ocean that was at his right 

He could sense that someone was there, even 
though the hunch wasn't strong enough. Instead of a 
person, he was sensing something more alike to a 
sharp object and someone's unusual breath. It was 
tearing up the atmosphere. It was not the wind, it 
was something else. 

His eyes were moving into that direction until he 
noticed a human shadow moving, doing familiar 
Karate moves with hands and feet that he 
recognized doing with his own body hundreds of 

“Is he practicing Hokushinkan style Karate!?” 

Himekawa approached this figure and the 
movement stopped at once. 

“Oh!!, Mr. Kajiwara, It's you!!” Himekawa said. 

As the shadowy figure stopped moving, He turned 
to face Himekawa. 


“Wow, you surprised me...” Making a strange 
expression, Kajiwara did not look or sound 

surprised even though that is what he said so. 

“You sure don't sound like a cat or another animal 

that might be wandering at this hour.” 

“ You're Mr. Kajiwara, am I right?” Himekawa 
said by getting close to him. 

“That's correct.” 

“ I'm Himekawa Tsutomu from Hokushinkan's 
main branch.” 


“ I'm a person that has worked very closely with 
Matsuo Shozan Sensei. He has taken good care for 


“Oh, I see. So, what are you doing here?” 

“ I was waiting for someone, an old friend of 


“A friend of yours?” 

“Yeah, sort of...” 

“Might this person be Tanba Bunshichi?” 
Himekawa asked while Kajiwara made a strange 


“How do you know him?” 

“I've been looking for him, do you know where he 

“He's supposed to come here soon, I guess.” The 

moment Kajiwara answered, they heard a thin 
scream within the darkness. 


“Over there!!” Himekawa said, moving his head 
towards the place where the scream came. Both 

men ran towards it. 


All of a sudden, Bunshichi’s head had been hit by 
Shimura's kick with the right leg. A kick launched 
at flash speed that Bunshichi had to bent his elbow 
on the side of his head to block it. 

[ 204 ] 

While the kick landed, He steeped into his 
opponent's area with his right foot and kicked 
Shimura’s leg with his left foot. That was the 
moment when Shimura launched a left fist that 
came flying at Bunshichi's face. 

This was not an usual Karate blow, It was a weird 
attack. Bunshichi waited for contact and twisted 
his head to cross it. He was aiming for the leg but 
Bunshichi’s kick was quite shallow. If he seriously 
wanted to cause more damage and having enough 
space, instead of launching a kick, Bunshichi 
would have punched him in the face. 

Usually, if the opponent was at his same level of 
fighting skills, he would have not resort to launch a 
high kick all of a sudden. For that Bunshichi would 
have used his other foot and launched a few solid 
punches at the low and mid sections before 
launching a solid high kick that would not miss its 

Suddenly, everything fell into place for Bunshichi. 

“He's a guy that likes to brawl creatively.” 
Bunshichi thought while using some light 


In simple terms, his opponent mastered Karate just 
to use it as the base while mixing it with a few 
tricks here and there that will give him the 
advantage in a fight. A person just like himself 
used to deal with street combat often. 

If that was the case, Bunshichi had the perfect 
answer for it. 

“Hah, so you and me are the same, then?” he 
muttered quietly. 

Then, he stopped all of a sudden, and he lowered 
down his arms in a relaxed stance. He just stood 
there in an upright position without an expression. 
His opponent closed the distance but he was using 

a defenseless posture, in a fight, this was almost 
unthinkable. For a moment, he doubted if Shimura 
had an attack planned for that. He started doubting 
what was coming up next. 

“Will he use a kick? A punch maybe?” Bunshichi 
started getting distracted. 

It only took him 0.1 seconds to find out the answer 
as a right fist flew over towards Bunshichi’s face. 
Even if it was only a second, hesitation can decide 
the outcome between victory and defeat. In this 
case, Bunshichi improvised a left fist but before he 
could launch it, it was caught with a right knee and 
pulled his left arm back. 

While retreating, he saw that giant fist covering all 
his field of vision coming at him. Too late to do 
anything, his reflexes moved his right hand and 
caught that punch between his face and his open 

Absorbing the strong impact like a cushion, Tanba 
felt the power of that attack but his right hand was 

holding Shimura’s fist and he tried to sneak behind 
Shimura's back when he realized something. 


“Gwaaaargh!!” He screamed while his fist was 
inside Bunshichi’s right arm. Shimura's wrist had 

been broken. 

At the same time, Shimura's right knee had been 
sunk into Bunshichi's butt. A powerful attack that 
was way too close and it would have given 
Shimura more openings while Bunshichi was 
recovering from the pain of the impact, he felt it 

But this was not to be, as Shimura reached his limit 
of pain tolerance and collapsed in the floor 
screaming loudly like a flute. This was the scream 
that Himekawa heard. 


Crazy dog's face was bleeding profusely, it was 
noticeable that blood were pouring from his mouth 
and nose. Even though, initially he was reeking of 
alcohol and tobacco, now his mouth was filled 
with blood and he was reeking of iron. Even half 
of his shirt changed color to a more darker stain. 

In contrast, Tsurumi's face had become pale. His 
countless punches and kicks failed to reach the 
desired effect. He was sweating buckets but all 
that effort amount to little compared with the final 

That's because the weight difference was simply 
too big. Almost 90 lbs of difference between him 
and the giant man. 

Even though the giant wasn't a Karateka, he was 
still a pro-wrestler, used to take kicks and punches 

to the face while minimizing the damage for long 
periods of time. But the body weight wasn’t the 
only reason of his failure. 

There’s also the reach difference. Once you’re 
grabbed, You’d be scared that your enemy will step 
into your balance area. If you could avoid it, You'd 
be able to reduce the damage that the opponent 
would inflict to you. 

The mad dog was grinning and laughing loudly 
every time he will take a punch or a kick, even 
now with his bloody face, it was amusing to him. 
There was no mistake that he was thinking in that 
pleasant moment when he would have caught 
Tsurumi and finish him with whatever he pleased. 

[ 206 ] 

In the other hand, Tsurumi, who was battered, 
injured and had ran out of options, was paralyzed 
by fear. But that didn’t diminished his courage one 

bit. He still had the guts to not run away. 

“Hey, brother. I get that you’re tough but he's still 
coining for me, wanna switch?” Bunshichi said in a 
relaxed and friendly tone to Tsurumi, that didn’t 
answer and kept a determined look. But in reality, 

he did not have the composure to answer. 

You just have to see that poor guy Shimura rolling 
in pain on the ground, his screams were loud 
enough to Tsurumi to hear, but he dared not look 
his way. 

Bunshichi thought to himself that this was the very 
fear he experienced from Kajiwara in that fight six 
years ago, Tsurumi was in the same position and 
must be feeling the same. 

“Doryyaaahhhh!!!” Tsurumi screamed before he 
jumped into Crazy Dog's chest. 

Charging back his arm, he made a fist but then, he 

left the index and middle fingers out and positioned 
them in form of a Y with those, he was aiming to 
stab Crazy Dog’s nostrils, but as soon as they got 
closer. He decided to aim higher than that. 

He was going to attack him right in his eyes. 

Crazy Dog shook his head with a bloody smile. He 
stood in the same place and, even knowing that his 
opponent was aiming to take his eyes out, he didn’t 
panic at all. It only took a small sway back with 
his head and the attack was useless. 

While in mid air, Crazy Dog seized Tsurumi's 
shoulders and his fingers stopped right in front of 
Crazy Dog's face, showing the vast difference in 
reach of both men. Crazy Dog let a maniacal laugh 
while Tsurumi was paralyzed by fear. 

“Aiehhh!!!” screamed Tsurumi. 

Not only he failed to land that attack, it was the 
only attack that he could launch on him. For a 

desperate man without options, this was the best he 
could hope for. Without making a mistake, Tsurumi 
thought that he would be able to pull it off if he 
was desperate enough. 


Tsurumi tried to pry himself open but Crazy Dog 
had him well secured with his arms like a bear 
hug. Tsurumi tried to scream loudly but his scream 
stopped midway. 

“AieeeGUHHHHHHH!!!” Crazy Dog pressed him 
until all his oxygen escaped from his lungs. 

“Baaaaahhhh” Tsurumi grasped for air, but when 
he tried to scream again, Crazy Dog pressed him 

once again. 

This time, the mad dog kept pressing him without 
letting him breathe. His shoulders bulged like a 
bump while Tsurumi’s ribs were making cracking 
sounds as his mouth was while open and he was 
convulsing shaking his head back and forth. 

His face started to turn blue while he flapped his 
mouth, desperately trying to grasp some air from 
his surroundings but it seems he wasn’t able to. 
Crazy Dog unfastened his right arm and Tsurumi 
desperately let his lungs have some air but he was 
still seized by the giant's left arm, gasping 
violently. This time It was Crazy Dog the one that 
charged back his arm and made a fist, but it was 
different from Tsurumi. He only let one finger out, 
the index finger, that considering the thickness of 
his hand, it seemed that it was a giant pole. 

“... .What is he planning to do with that?” 

Bunshichi was a little puzzled. 

But when he saw how much he charged back that 
spooky finger, he felt his spine as cold as ice. In 
Bunshichi’s mind, there was conflicting feelings. 

For one, he wanted to see what would be the result 
of that attack, but in the other hand, He wanted to 
stop him from executing a man that was already 

“Stop!!” Bunshichi Yelled a few moments later, 
but it was already too late. 

Tsurumi let out a big It was more like 
a howl that would pierce the ears of anyone that 

would listen to it. 

A noise so hideous that it seems it was done by a 
dying beast, but enough for you to discern that it 
was a voice emitted by a human in an extreme 
moment. If it was you making this sound, you'd 
wish it was the last time in your life that you 
emitted a sound like that. 

[ 208 ] 

It wasn’t going to happen for a second time, ever.... 
Even if he was still alive, Tsurumi probably would 
not have the chance to make that scream again, but 
he will have to settle down with the kind of life he 
will get after recovering from the consequences of 
this fight. 

This sound was the ultimate, desperate attempt to 
tolerate a horrible injury that will affect not only 
his martial artist career for the rest of his life, but 
his regular life for as long as he’d live, which he 
could just suppose, it wasn’t going to be long 

What Crazy Dog did, while he was holding 
Tsurumi, used his gigantic hand to grasp and press 
the back of Tsurumi's head. 

Moreover, he launched and stuck his thick right 
index finger into Tsurumi’s right nostril with all his 
strength, breaking muscle, bone and cartilage all 
the way to the edge. There was no mistake, That 
blow penetrated so deeply that it reached even his 


Tsurumi continued to let out a strange noise, very 
similar to a dog that was being strangled to death. 
As if something was stuck in his throat. Crazy Dog 
released his left hand that was used to press the 
back of Tsurumi's head. Tsurumi was struggling, as 
if he was lifted up in the air and he was writing 
something on the ground. 

His mouth was half-open and his body was 
trembling. His blood was overflowing everywhere 
and along with his jaw, it was dripping all over the 

“A pro-wrestler can get his hands dirty too.” 
Bunshichi remembered he heard that from 


“Mr. Himekawa...sir?” someone was calling from 
the darkness. Himekawa Tsutomu stood next to 
Bunshichi. Looking at the gruesome scene with stiff 
eyes. He would have preferred making his snarky 

smile but his heart has become still as well. 

“Mr. Himekawa?” A man came from the 
darkness and kept on calling him. It was the same 
man that made that phone call before when he was 

with Saeko. 


“Would you mind if I watch this fight quietly 
without intervening?” 

“I don’t care.” Himekawa responded. 

Crazy Dog finally pulled out his finger and Tsurumi 
collapsed on his knees and his back. The city lights 
shone on Crazy Dog's index finger. It was glowing 
with shiny, wet red colors mixed with a little of 
black at the same time. 

Crazy Dog opened his bloody mouth and sucked 
his finger making a loud sucking noise. Turning 

around facing Tanba. 

“I'm fighting you...” Himekawa whispered in the 
darkness while walking out to the light. He walked 

casually with his hands down on the sides. 

“Disgusting white pig...” Himekawa muttered 
with a calm voice. Crazy Dog's red face has turned 

even more redder. 

In half a second, Himekawa charged all of a 
sudden!! The mad dog didn’t run away. Bunshichi 
was staring at Himekawa's right hand the moment 
he made first contact with Crazy Dog. Himekawa 
and the mad dog clashed violently. 

Because of the impact, Himekawa was blown far 
away to the back. Crazy dog moved forward with 
the same speed as Himekawa was flying to the 
back. Crazy Dog's humongous body fell on 
Himekawa and it seem he was covering him 
completely. He could not move his body. Felt like 
a small mountain decided to sit on him Himekawa 

tried to get himself out from under him. He finally 
stood up and cleared out the dirt on his shirt. 

“Puuhh...Is been a while, I tell you.” He looked at 
Bunshichi and smiled widely. 

“Just now....” Bunshichi said while looking 
perplexed at Himekawa. 

“Did you stab him!!?” 

“You saw it, didn’t you?” 

[ 210 ] 

Himekawa asked him humorously, maybe 
Bunshichi missed it for a second. 

Every part of the face, for as simple and strong as 
it may look, It carry a great deal of sensitivity and 

Even if you don't see it, it’s the point intersecting 
the middle of our nose and upper lip. If you press 
softly enough, you'd feel the sensitivity. But the 

harder you press, you will feel the pain and agony 
until you stop. If you were in a real combat 
situation, your body will make your vitals to hold 
in a tight spot, making them harder to reach. 
Doesn't matter what kind of person or his fighting 
background could be, if he or she see something 
flying to his or her face, the body will make all 
sorts of movements to avoid it. Any sort of small 
moves could protect these tiny vital spots. 

“His opening attack was so simple, that, unless I 
did something flashy to distract him, nothing else 
would have worked as easy as that to take him 

down.” Himekawa said with a cool voice. 

“So...You intended to defeat him from the start?” 

“Yes.” Himekawa answered while looking at the 
man that was assisting him. 

“Katou, please clean this up and get help for the 
injured. Mr. Kawabe should be at the Tokai 

Kankou hotel as we speak, so you can call him 

“Yes, sir.” The man named Katou said. At that 
same time, there was a rustling sound nearby. It 
was Crazy Dog who was lying face-down like a 
small mountain, he moved his body slowly but 

surely, and got up. 

“Pro-wrestlers are a people without a pattern, 
don't you think so, Bunshichi?” Himekawa asked. 

“That’s quite impressive.” he added shortly 

Bunshichi was mysteriously impressed too. It was 
amazing to see someone who was able to stand up 
after getting one of his vital points violently 
smashed in such a way, he didn’t think there could 
be people like that. 

[ 211 ] 

Crazy dog stumbled a bit but he was able to get up. 
Bunshichi and Himekawa were looking at that 
immense body of his while Crazy Dog turned 
around. He did it slowly as if he was searching for 
Bunshichi and the others. While he turned, it was 
visible that his nose was twisted in an unnatural 
way. He looked at Bunshichi and Himekawa with 
pale eyes. 

Himekawa walked towards Crazy Dog with a 
relaxed walk and he even stood in front of him. 

Crazy Dog did not move, that was when Himekawa 
lifted up his right hand, lowered down his hip and 
slightly hit Crazy Dog's chest with his palm. Crazy 
Dog’s giant body fell down defeated and stumbled 
down on his back. This time, though. Crazy Dog 
remained immobile for the rest of the time they 
were there. 

“So, shall we go, then?” Said Himekawa with a 

big smile looking at Bunshichi. 

“Go? Go where?” Bunshichi asked, puzzled. 

“Isn’t your “friend” waiting for you on the other 
side?” When Himekawa said it, Bunshichi made an 
expression as if he just realized that there was 
somebody waiting for him, and Himekawa was 

waiting for them too. 

“That’s right.” Bunshichi said quietly with a small 
smile. “Let's go” 


The wind blew strongly. It seemed that the coastal 
wind that came from the ocean had gotten a little 
stronger. Blowing over treetops without leaves, 
these haven’t grown yet in this season, but, in the 
dark, the branches were making a faint wind noise 
in the atmosphere. Two shadows were emerging 
from the dark road. These were Bunshichi walking 
along Himekawa on his left side. 

[ 212 ] 

Both men, Bunshichi and Himekawa, were walking 
silently. Drawn into the darkness ahead, Bunshichi 
knew he was walking to the place where Kajiwara 
was waiting for him, but he sensed something 
different within him. 

His sense of excitement was overloaded. He loved 
to fight and there was nothing in this world that 
could excite him more than to face Kajiwara. But 
instead, there was a strange sense of mental 
fatigue. He felt that he used already the best of him. 

He wondered what else he would do if he were to 
win this fight...even though he didn’t have the usual 
burning fighting spirit that brimmed in his body and 
launched him to battle. He didn’t want to fight. 

“I was scared.” He remembered what Kajiwara 
told him. Wasn’t that enough to satisfy him? 

He wondered about that himself, but he still 
couldn’t come up with an answer, he didn’t 

When he met him, he could have shake his hand, 
invite him to a few drinks, laugh about a few 
stories about his pro-wrestling matches...If he did 
that.... What would have been the insult of it, then? 
Why did they fight? Why do they have to fight for 
now? Bunshichi was trying to find the reason why 
they had to fight inside his head. 

He visualized the faces of the men he had been 
fighting so far until now. His eyes were as if they 
were questioning something within his hunger for 

fighting. The gruesome scene of his best friend 
defeated, the face of Saito covered in blood 
blurred by his own tears, floated in his mind. He 
remembered the scene when Saito was fighting 
very well. What was the name of the man that 
killed him? He could not remember that. It was 
“Kijima” but he already forgot that. He could only 
remember his face before and after being beaten up 
mercilessly by him 

But then, Kajiwara's face would show up, 
unbeatable, angry, powerful. He could have 
destroyed him. He didn’t, nobody knows why even 
today. His face kept showing up, never the loser, 
never the defeated. 

Better think in somebody else, who else was there? 
Ryoji Kubo, that kid that was so impressed that 
begged him to be his friend, his sharp eyes trying 
to crack the secret of Bunshichi’s fighting ability, 
there was also Izumi Souichiro's face. A kind and 
wise person that accepted his reckless challenge. 
Faces, different faces, angry faces, sad faces. They 

wouldn’t stop invading his mind and unloading a 
burden heavier than the last. They were tossing 
them at Bunshichi’s back without caring if he was 
able to carry them all, at all. 


He felt that his hands and legs were getting heavy. 
“What's wrong? Are you alright?” Himekawa 

asked a bit concerned. 

“It's nothing.” Bunshichi responded. 

“Your body can't feel the excitement, huh!?” 

“No, that's not it.” Bunshichi answered that, and 

within his mind, he answered to himself the same. 
“It all will come back, explode and burn once I 

see him.” that's what he thought. 

“It's truly a damn shame, isn’t it?” Himekawa 
asked with a slightly pessimistic tone. 


“I was looking forward to that, I thought I’d be the 

person who’ll defeat you." 

“Are you saying that I'm going to lose against 



That can't be, Bunshichi thought to himself “what 
the hell this guy is talking about? I’m not the same 

guy that I was six years ago.” 

Bunshichi heard the sounds of the twigs being 
pushed gently by the wind. They kept walking at a 
relaxed pace until Himekawa stopped walking and 
stood right there. The trees in front of him blocked 
Bunshichi’s view but about thirthy feet ahead of 

him, something was moving in the dark. 

The night city lights nearby illuminated a 
formidable figure of a strong man doing some 

“Your friend is here, waiting for you.” Himekawa 


Kajiwara stopped moving at once, he rose up 
slowly while looking at Bunshichi. He moved 
forward and stopped a few meters before him. 
Kajiwara took on the same expression, raw 
ferocity, the first time he met Bunshichi at the 
Toyoo Pro-Wrestling Gym 

[ 214 ] 

At that time, he came up from the shower room, at 
the moment he looked at Bunshichi’s eyes; he 
thought he had the fight in his pocket because he 
was weak. 

“Hey!!” Kajiwara spoke with a low and raspy 

If you were to stare into Kajiwara now, there is 
more in that “Hey” than any roar or scream uttered 
in the fighting streets of men and boys. A menacing 
look and a fierce sound, enough to shut anyone 
down, one would allow their muscles to release 
their suspended anxiety the moment he diverted 
his eyes, but it was followed by the loudest of 

silences. He was looking at Bunshichi now, it was 
the loudest sound. 

“Are you sick or something? What's wrong?” 
Kajiwara demanded an answer. 

“Nothing.” Bunshichi answered quietly. 

This is what he wanted all along. He made it all 
the way here. His graven soul was waiting for six 
years, the heaviest of hearts was what he was left 
with. Quitting was damn well out of the question. 

“Let's fight...” Bunshichi bellowed. He gave a 
deep breath, lowered his waist, the hesitation 


He was ready. 



[ 215 ] 



"Damn, shit, fuck!! Pisses me off!!" These words 
were repeating over and over in Ryoji’s head. He 
was having a really hard time containing his anger. 
The fact that Bunshichi abandoned him after such 
an important fight felt like a betrayal and there 
were no immediate options or alternate plans to 

ease his frustration. 

He started wandering hopelessly around the hotel 
and finally decided to walk around Chinatown. 
Once he arrived there, he started searching for 
dark streets and hidden corners but the only shady 
street he found was a very unpleasant narrow alley 
filled with suspicious men loitering, drinking, 
laughing. One guy was circling his arm around a 


and you could tell he wasn’t doing it for free . 
Another was vomiting behind a post. The tobacco 
and cheap booze smell reeked around the area. 
With all the lights and questionable businesses that 
cater to the night life, Yokohama appeared to be 
like a giant, intimidating maze. There was even a 
small dark river that wasn’t smelling much better 


For the second time, the Toukai Kankou hotel 
received a phone call asking if Kajiwara had 

returned and it was answered with the same words 
as the first. “He wasn’t returned yet, sir.” 

Sick of wandering the streets, Ryoji returned to the 
hotel with the small hope that Tanba would be 
there but he wasn't. 

He was loitering in the bar and in the lobby and 
after a short while, he was back in the street. 

“What the fuck, I don’t wanna start crying for this.” 
Ryoji was feeling desperate and in his brisk 
walking, he started bumping into some people 
several times. They insulted him with harsh words 
and pushed him away but he cared little for what 
they said or do, only spitting in the ground in 
response. The desperation was getting the best of 


He kept advancing until he bumped head on into 
someone that was big and burly. Ryoji fell on the 
floor but the tall figure didn’t move and just kept 

looking at him. 

[ 216 ] 

“The fuck is your problem, dude!!?” Ryoji 
screamed to the tall man that had shiny eyes and a 

perplexed look. 

But before standing up, he noticed something 
familiar about this man. He knew him. His tone of 

voice changed immediately. 

“Ohh!! You're the mighty Ox, Ushio Date.” he 
said while standing up and dusting himself a little. 

“ I knew it was you right away, what other kid 
would have the balls to bump into me like that?” 

“ Mr. Date, would you happen to know where my 
old bro could be right now?” 

“Who are you talking about?” 

“My old bro...” 

“You mean Bunshichi Tanba?” 

“Yes sir. The asshole went ahead and left me 


“Wait, do you mean Bunshichi came all the way 
to Yokohama?” 

“He came here to fight Kajiwara, That's why he 
left me behind. Probably he thought I would get in 

the way.” 

“Tanba came to fight Kajiwara?...” 
His voice thickened. “Do you know any places he 

could be right now?” 

“I have no idea, even Kajiwara hasn’t returned to 
his hotel yet, I called there a few times.” When 
Ryoji mentioned that, Date groaned as if he was 

expecting a bad outcome. 

“That man sure is packing bad intentions within 
his hands. He's quite aggressive” Date said shaking 

his head with a small grin on his face. 

“I don't know what to say, I really don't know this 
place.” Ryoji mentioned sounding a little bit 


After a brief moment, Date seemed to remember 

“ I was wondering if Tanba maybe is planning to 
ambush him in Yamashita park.” 

“Isn’t that place quite far from where Kajiwara is 

“Kajiwara is an idiot. He loves to jog from there 
to the hotel after a performance. He did that in his 
opening night too. It just makes him happy to run 

from all the way from there, I guess.” 

“Where’s Yamashita park!!?” Ryoji started 
walking fast, away from Date, even though he 

didn’t know where it was. 

“This way, Follow me!!” Date started running and 

he was quickly followed by Ryoji. 

“That idiot!! Wait until I find him!!” 

[ 217 ] 

Ryoji's resentment and anger were growing as he 
ran. He was never good at managing his emotions. 


Bunshichi could hear the wind wafting through a 
cherry tree branch that was on top of his head, it 
was coming directly from the ocean. There was a 
salty scent in the air. Maybe it was the smell of the 

tide mixed with other vegetation from the 
landscape. But it was an intense, warm salty air 

that was reaching Bunshichi’s nose. 

He noticed something strange in the ocean smell 

this time, for some reason it felt...Human? 

Suddenly he realized that it was his own sweat, 
not from the earlier fight definitely. It was fresh 
sweat pouring since he started the fight against 
Kajiwara. Kajiwara was standing about fifteen 
feet away from him and he still hadn’t made a 
fighting stance yet, but his eyes were following him 

much like a serpent. 

Bunshichi also had not made a fighting stance yet. 
He simply lowered his waist and said “Let's 


But nobody had made a significant move yet since 
he mentioned those words. In Bunshichi’s head 
there were two questions running in his head. 
“What kind of position will he use?” “Which move 

will he use to start the fight?” 

He was trying desperately to figure out the answer 
to start the fight with a counter rather than a first 
blood attack. 

“Damn!! Is he going to kick!!? Maybe a feint low 
kick? I'm sure he’ll try to grapple me in some 


Pro wrestlers have this particular stance when 
they're trying to kick, but their kicks aren't really 
that powerful. If they want to launch a serious kick, 
they need to have a proper stance, order of 

movement and balance to achieve it. 

“No, he’s not going for it.” Bunshichi thought. 

In this kind of place, a simple wrestler can be 
really dangerous by taking advantage of his usual 
throwing and slamming techniques. Wrestlers don't 

train just for the sake of getting back on their feet 
after they've been slammed with a back-drop or a 
body-slam They also trained for the purpose of 
minimizing the impact of such techniques used on 
the ring. 

[ 218 ] 

The elasticity of the mat always absorbed the 
damage of the impact. For example, if a wrestler is 
challenged and this fight happens on concrete or 
the floor of a Karate Dojo, The victory most likely 
would be settled as soon as somebody received the 
first body slam. If it was the case of somebody 
landing with the back of their head due to a back¬ 
drop, the fight would have been over in an instant. 
Kajiwara only had that particular advantage in this 


Kajiwara started to sink his waist slowly. Gently 
lifting up his arms, his hands were wide open. 
Leaving a big gap between his hands and the center 
of his body. Moving his arms back and forth, It 

was the traditional pro wrestler stance. 

Bunshichi felt a cold shiver at the base of his 
spine making ripples in his back. He held his fists 
and slowly moved closer to him while catching the 
rhythm with his elbows. His focus was clear and 
he felt confident in his condition and abilities but, 

for some reason, he felt a void inside his heart. 

All that rage and hatred towards Kajiwara was 
now gone but no, that was not accurate. The hatred 
was still burning inside of him but it wasn’t for 
Kajiwara. That void in his chest was rolling down 

like a boulder inside his body. 

For the last six years he has been hungry for 

fighting, eagerly waiting to settle this fight. 

“Could it be that...?” Bunshichi thought to 

“ If the opponent wasn't Kajiwara, I wouldn’t 
have felt this void in my chest. The cells in my 
body would have been happy and I would have 
been feeling goosebumps to stand in front of my 

opponent and enjoy the throw down.” 

The distance towards Kajiwara had become much 
smaller. His body gave a sensitive reaction toward 
his opponent movements. 

[ 219 ] 

Kajiwara was protecting his chin and the left side 
of his face with the back of his right hand and 
trying to create some distance because he knew 
about Bunshichi's high kick and he was being 

cautious about it. 

He lightly moved his left hand forward with an 
open palm. The distance kept decreasing. 

“Shuuh!!” Bunshichi let out a sharp breath while 
launching a low kick aiming at Kajiwara's left leg 
while it was drawing a short arc. Kajiwara 
received the blow with his left knee and he did it 
accurately. Right when Kajiwara lifted his knee, he 
could see Bunshichi telegraphing his movements. 

He started laughing about it. 

Aiming at that laugh, Bunshichi hit him with a 
right punch which Kajiwara blocked it beautifully 

with his left arm 

Following that attack, Bunshichi kept launching 
low and medium kicks with both legs. He wasn’t 

aiming at any particular point. He just wanted a 
chance to let some good attacks land on his 

His head, shoulder, abdomen, the legs, the 

Bunchishi kept attacking every single part of the 
human body possible but Kajiwara was able to 
block every single attack masterfully. He even got 
surprised when Kajiwara dared to let one of his 
mid-high kicks land on his back on purpose 

without much effect. 

“Heahhhhh” Kajiwara let out a sound that much 
resembled a serpent. Kicking the ground hard, he 
launched an attack that had Bunchishi stepping 

back and cramping his back for a moment. 

[ 220 ] 

With his free foot, Kajiwara aimed at Bunshichi’s 
abdomen like a serpent and after landing that, that 
slick serpent goose-neck was searching to smash 
Bunshichi’s nose. That was a very intense kick. To 
be honest, that was the kind of blow that you would 
shatter somebody's jaw easily. Not too long ago he 
had used that fast kick on some unlucky sap in the 
ring and the result was inevitable. 

Usually, the pro-wrestler kick cannot be compared 
in power to superior kicks like the Karatekas or 
Muay Thai boxers. They are nowhere near as 
powerful. For starters, they don't lift high enough. 
Compared to their opponent stances, you can't 
possibly kick their heads if you are a pro wrestler. 
Unfortunately, for Tanba, Kajiwara was different 
from the rest. 

He had such a gift for kicks that if he launched a 

front high kick to an opponent, most likely the 
impact would reach to the back of his head. 

“Talk about prolific...” Bunchishi thought to 
himself. With a kick of such caliber, Kajiwara 
could leave a burning smell in the air. Let alone 

getting hit by it. 

The chance opened itself for him. Bunshichi was 
aiming for Kajiwara's left foot and kicked him with 
all his might. That's when Kajiwara upper body 
started shaking. With the same kick, Bunshichi was 
aiming for Kajiwara's head and continued the 
attack. However, that kick didn’t land on 
Kajiwara's head. Kajiwara lifted his left arm and 
blocked that blow. Then, he trapped Bunshichi's 

right foot in his left armpit. 

This time, the target was Bunshichi's pivotal leg. 
Before that, Bunshichi jumped with his right foot 

and kicked Kajiwara's right side of the head with 
his left foot. Sinking his head, Kajiwara avoided 
that attack and left Bunshichi kicking air. Then, he 
put the weight on Bunshichi's leg that he was 
holding all along. Bunshichi slammed the ground 
with his right shoulder first. 

[ 221 ] 

Had he slammed the ground with his right hand, 
the damage would have been considerable and the 
broken bones would have left him exposed and 
defeated. At this moment, it was obvious that 
Kajiwara was aiming to damage Bunshichi’s right 
Achilles tendon, but, in between that momentum, 
Bunshichi recovered from the slam and tried to 
kick Kajiwara's head while on the ground, 
However, Kajiwara was able to block with his 

right hand. Somehow, Kajiwara’s strength had 
become slightly loose. 

Bunshichi flipped his body horizontally. Pulling his 
right leg, he kicked Kajiwara's stomach with his 
left foot. Kajiwara tried to block it with both his 
arms. It slipped out. Kneeling down, Kajiwara 
tried to do a takedown on Bunshichi that was still 
trying to get up. He had gotten into his chest. 
Bunshichi desperately tried to use both his elbows 
and planted them repetitively on Kajiwara's 
shoulders that were as tough as big rocks and 
boulders. However his posture wasn’t good enough 
and his blows had no effect at all. 

He had been finally brought down to his back and 
he was pressed from above. Kajiwara seized his 
left wrist with his hand. He was trying to pull an 
arm lock of some sort. Bunshichi regretted it. He 
should have run away before he had gotten into that 
situation. His back was shaking violently, while 

carrying Kajiwara's weight on his chest, he tried to 
get himself up from the ground. This was a pro 
wrestling bridge. 

Suddenly, Bunshichi made an impressive human 
arch with his body. It seemed that in between that 
desperate struggle, he had swallowed some dirt 
and pebbles from the ground. Kajiwara sighed. 

Using his forehead as fulcrum, Bunshichi twisted 
his own body and in that way he was able to free 
himself from the arm lock. But this didn’t happen 
without damage as Bunshichi's forehead was 
bleeding and the open wound had some pebbles 
and dirt mixed with the open skin. But this was a 
small price to pay in exchange for seizing 
Kajiwara's arm. It was Bunshichi's time to get 
some payback with ground fighting of his own. 

[ 222 ] 

During the moment when he took Kajiwara's right 
arm, they were able to stand side-by-side. That's 
when Kajiwara and Bunshichi's eyes meet one 


“Heh, Heh...” 

Kajiwara laughed. While he was still laughing, he 
approached his forehead to Bunshichi and 
“Bang!!” he gave him a strong head-butt right 
between his nose and mouth. He managed to get 
even closer and “Bang!!” he landed another one. 
Bunshichi felt a warm river fell from his nose. It 

was blood. 

“Bang!!” for the third time, the rugged forehead 
found his mark for a head-butt. For the fourth time 
Bunshichi released his right hand and tried to nab 
Kajiwara with his right fist. Surprisingly enough, 
he was able to land a good one on Kajiwara's nose 


After that heated exchange, both men tumbled and 
competed with each other on the ground. Their 
look was almost the same. Both of them with 
bloody faces with some mud and bruises all 

around. It was a muddled and frightening fight. 
Little by little, slowly and gradually, both of them 
managed to increase the damage done to each 
other. If we were to compare them to their first 
fight. One would say that they became more 
persistent this time. Much like two serpents 
battling and trying to entangle each other. Those 
who would have watched the fight once would not 
be able to tell which person attacked whom. It 
would have to be filmed to be analyzed. There 
were occasions when the person on top was in 
more pain than the person on the bottom because 
their faces got distorted. 

But as you can see, there were neither lights nor 
spectators who could bear witness to this dirty 

Himekawa was the only person who watched the 
fight. He watched them fight with a smile so big, 
his fine nostrils were expanding a little. His 
delicate face had this delighted look of someone 
finally finding a treasure that he sought for so long. 

[ 223 ] 


The wind was blowing from the ocean. The twigs 
and branches were making an eerie sound within 
the darkness and silhouettes of Yamashita park. 
Two dark shadows were running frantically and 
emerged from the trees. 

It was Date and Ryoji. Along the trail, Date 
suddenly stopped and his nose wriggled a little. 

“What's wrong, Mr. Date?” Ryoji asked and 
looking worried. 

“This is strange, I smell blood.” Date answered 

“Blood, you say?” 

“No matter how little blood there's around, I can 
smell it and it always stinks ”. Date started 

walking faster. 

Ryoji followed him not too far behind, he kept the 
pace. In an instant, both of them stopped when they 
saw three men lying down in the dark. Two of them 
were under a cherry tree. The man that was resting 
in the trunk of the cherry tree looked like he was in 
severe pain and just got defeated. Groaning 
constantly, the other was just resting down, it felt 

that they were so injured and weak. 

But the person away from the cherry tree looked 
like a mountain, he didn't make any sounds. 

“Hell, this is Crazy Dog.” Date said while 
walking towards him. 

“What the hell happened in here!!?” Date asked 
the one that was semi conscious resting on the 


Shimura, that sustained an injury when his wrist 
got bent by Bunshichi, was looking at Date in pain. 
He realized he was talking to someone from Toyoo 

pro wrestling. 

“He defeated me.” he groaned in shame. 
“Defeated you? Who?” 

[ 224 ] 

“Bunshichi did. He defeated both of us but the big 

guy over there was defeated by Himekawa.” He 
kept talking but due to the pain, he was having 

difficulty breathing. 

“Himekawa?” It seemed that it was the first time 
Date heard that name. 

“I think Katou left to call Kawabe.” 

“I see...” 

“But I need to tell you, I think the police and the 
ambulance might come here soon, there was a 
couple that saw us and left in a hurry, probably 
they called them...” Shimura could say just so much 

until he got interrupted by Ryoji. 

“I don’t have time, tell me where is Kajiwara and 

my old bro Tanba now!!” 

“They're over there...” 

“Ahh! Shit!!” Ryoji ran towards the darkness and 
didn’t look back. 

“Hey, if you help me out, we’ll be able to move 
this dude closer to here” Date said, Looking at the 



“Whatever, just get lost.” 

“We will never be able to move this giant dude to 
a bench.” 

“He’ll have to walk by himself.” Date said. 

“No shit.” 

“Tsk...” Date spit to the ground. 

“He got beat up pretty bad.” Date kicked Crazy 
Dog's cheek with his shoe. Shimura was looking at 
him with a disgusted look in his face and Crazy 
Dog started groaning a little while his giant body 

started moving. 

“It is hard to believe the monster has finally been 
defeated.” Murmured Shimura. 

[ 225 ] 

Shimura stood up, He helped Tsurumi stand up 
with his right hand and put Tsurumi’s arm on his 

“Shit!!” Date kicked Crazy Dog's groin area but 

he didn’t notice, he just groaned a little. 

Surprised by it, Crazy Dog lifted up his hip and 
yelled “Ugh!! Damn it...” He murmured under his 


Grabbing him by the collar, Date told him “If you 
still want to fight in Japan's rings, you'll do exactly 

as I say...” 

“First, you'll get up and walk on your own, even 
if you have to crawl, you'll call Kawabe on your 
cellphone or find a nice Taxi drive that's kind 

enough to give you a ride to the hospital...” 

Hearing this, Crazy Dog tried to lift himself up 

without avail. Date really started getting worried 
that he’d get involved in some mess he had no 
business to begin with, until he heard a couple of 
footsteps behind him and a familiar raspy voice. 

“'re here...” It was Kawabe. 

“Isn’t it fun when shit hits the fan?” Date said 


“This is horrible...” Kawabe said in a serious 
voice. “Being a victim of a hit and run.” 

“ What!?” Date got confused. 

“Crazy Dog was run over by a car and the driver 
got away...If that's the case.” Kawabe said 


“Sure, that's what it was...” Date smiled and 

“Now, where are Tanba and Kajiwara...?” 
Kawabe asked while looking around. 

“I’ll take care of it, leave them to me.” 

“Can I trust you?” 

“Come on Old Kawabe, I've been in the wrestling 
world longer than you, I just retired last year but I 

still can pull my strings just fine. 

[ 226 ] 

“Alright...” Kawabe nodded and picked Crazy 
Dog up from the ground. 

“Had I knew it was going to turn like this, I would 

have had someone smaller to do this.” 

“Well, you have to leave now. Someone already 
called the cops about the fights and the injured in 
this area, I’ll see you around.” Date said while 

running toward the place where Bunshichi was. 


Ryoji found both men entangled in a fierce battle. 
He couldn’t say or do anything but watch with a 
sad face how this fight was going to end. It wasn’t 
exciting, he felt that he was about to cry. At his 
side was Himekawa Tsutomu admiring the fight 
with the same faint smile and delighted look. His 
eyes were absentminded. Much like when someone 
stops for a while to admire a beautiful thing that 
cannot see everyday. The ocean wind fluttered 
Himekawa's long black hair sideways giving him a 
majestic look. From inside his mouth, Ryoji Kubo 
kept whispering pleads to Bunshichi to stop. 

“Come on. Old bro, this is enough...” 

He wanted to jump in the middle and stop this 
nonsense and get him to a safe place. 

“Why do these two have to fight so bitterly? For 

what reason?” He had seen the enjoyment of 
Bunshichi’s street fights many times before. But 
this time, he wasn't enjoying this match. It was sad, 
it was painful. Much like seeing your best friend 
being tortured in front of you. Ryoji almost couldn’t 

contain his tears watching the fight. 

He always enjoyed watching him fighting, 
watching anybody fighting. It was the first time that 
he hated this fight. It was painful to watch and he 

couldn’t wait for it to stop. 

While punching and kicking Kajiwara, Bunshichi 
felt that he was receiving the same amount of pain 
that he was inflicting to his opponent. He also 
noticed the damage and pressure in his own joints 
when he was targeting the same joints of Kajiwara. 
It also seemed that he could experience Kajiwara's 

pain when he attacked him. 

[ 227 ] 

It was the strange experience of feeling that his 
body and Kajiwara's were connected by a 
mysterious bond that made them feel the same, the 
same pain, the same feelings, the same sadness. 
Almost like a mirror. 

The more he tried to attack Kajiwara, the more he 
was tormenting himself. Ryoji sensed this. He 
wanted to desperately be the beacon that would 
bring Bunshichi back to his reality. He stopped 
caring. He let his tears roll down his cheeks. 

“Bro, that's enough!!” Ryoji yelled. “This fight 
has to stop!!” 

The light of the moon was reflected in Ryoji's 
tears. He was so distraught that he didn’t notice that 
Date was standing next to him and his feet felt like 
they were almost nailed to the ground. 

The martial arts stopped, the fighting spirit was 
gone. What remained was the void and the 
loneliness of two men hurling weak blows and 
empty attacks at each other. Mixed with the mud 
and blood. Everything was fading away into 

You could hear Ryoji's screams in the wind. You 
could also hear the sirens of police in the distance 
getting closer and closer. The sound of the ocean 
crashing onto the shore was gradually being 
overtaken by the familiar sound of sirens and the 
flashes of blue and red were getting closer and 

Those screams, sounds and colors were supposed 
to reach Bunshichi and Kajiwara ears and eyes.... 
But no, it might not reach them after all. 

“Come on, bro!!” Ryoji kept screaming. 

But Bunshichi did not move. He did not win the 
battle that day, in fact, neither did Kajiwara. There 
was nothing to win, probably never was... and 
never will... 

An unbearable loneliness had stuck in Bunshichi's 
face. He had fought with himself. 

[ 228 ] 

Blank page 

[ 229 ] 

AFTERWORD by Yumemakura 

If you have been reading my books for a while, 
you'll notice that this is my first novel attempt that 
doesn't include any science-fiction, magical or 
occult elements. Why is that, you might ask? Well... 

“I got two strong guys here, which one of them is 
stronger?” The theme is quite simple, yet 
fascinating. I always wanted to write stories about 
martial artists someday and this is one of them. I 
was always wondering “Why is it that nobody 
want to write stories about the modern Miyamoto 
Musashi?” The wandering man that wanted to test 
his might and skill without having to involve 
himself in a tale of self redemption or “rescue the 
girl”. Just test himself for the sake of fighting 
enjoyment? Why is it that when we say “a martial 
arts novel” it always has to involve a psychic, a 
CIA agent or some sort of military or magical 
reborn Kung-Fu guy? Why can’t they focus on an 
ordinary swordsman story? They're always a 

private investigator Karate expert or a criminal 
that's just good at Judo. Why does nobody ever 
bother to write a story of a simple fighter or 
somebody that just uses Karate as their main 


It doesn't mean that there has never been “good 
novels with combat themes in it” I just thought that 
the story about the modern Miyamoto Musashi 
would be a little different in these times. 

How about the story about the modern “Sugata 
Sanshiro” then? 

I have to say in Japanese comic “Manga” form, 
there are a lot of them. My favorite is “Karate 
Baka Ichidai” (Karate for life, A Crazy Karate life. 
In USA is known as “Karate Master” on HULL!) 
there's also “The Karate from hell” (Karate 
Jigokuhen) and “The Karate Three Kingdoms” 
(Karate Sengoku) Finally edited into separate 

How did they know that we needed stories like 

that? Who told them?? 

In my case, when it come to stories about fighters, 
you just can't ignore or leave pro wrestling behind. 
But how was I was going to integrate pro wrestling 
to the “Modern Miyamoto” story? I know how 
people with common sense have a specific vision 
about pro wrestling. 

[ 230 ] 

“It’s a show”, ’’it's fake”, ”It's scripted”, “It’s 
arranged”, “It's just a fight between Yakuza” etc.... 
We don’t know whether it's true or not but there's 
nothing that it can be done if people think about it 
in that way. 

After all, there's no mistake in saying that the 
world of pro wrestling is marred in sorrow. 

I like pro wrestling, Karate and Kick-boxing, but 
I’m just an amateur that has never experienced them 
directly. But for sure. I'm also a fan of the 

Miyamoto Musashi story, who would fight people 
in “one against one” kind of matches. 

I should probably write a story about that. About 
an amateur fighter that likes to challenge other 
skilled people in “one versus one” fights. And so, 
this became the theme for this book. 

And I became very satisfied with the theme too. It 
got me thinking “Is there a person that would care 
more about expressing stubbornness rather than 
fighting scenes and scores?” I'm sure there must be 
someone strange like that. 

There should not be a win-loss situation between 
Bunshichi and Kajiwara when they fought for the 
first time either. 

I really wanted to mention this in the book. Inside 
the book, there's still someone who could have 
become a wrestler a few years later even if they 
weren’t born from the pro wrestling organization 
called the UWF. If you haven't watched the fight 
between Super Tiger and a wrestler called 
Fujiwara Yoshiaki, but still want a clearer 

explanation concerning the UWF, Technically, they 
were formed earlier than when this book was 
written. If you cannot see their technical 
composition of “Kicks and joint locks” you would 
not be able to write a book about it. 

[ 231 ] 

About the other fighting scenes in this book, for 
those who are familiar with the Japanese pro 
wrestling and Karate world would probably 
remember and quote them when they read this 
book. There might be inspiration for such scenes in 
the surface but remember that this book is my 
literary creation and I did not mean offense to 
current fighting organization or actual persons. 

There’s something I need to confess though. This 
book will not end in this volume, originally there 
was a plan to end this book in a single volume but I 
get a bad habit on falling in love with my good 

stories and it get longer and longer the more I write 
and the more people ask me to make more out of 

This story would probably be over in three 
volumes, at least, that's the plan. 

What kind of moves would Tanba use against 
experts of different martial arts? Boxing? Kung- 
Fu? Aikido? Even sumo!!? wow, there's such a 
vast world that sometimes I can't keep my eyes 
closed just thinking what is he going to find next. 
The more I think about it, the more exciting it 

Ah, It's happening again as we speak. I’m not sure 
if I already got it but I think I have developed a 
stomach ulcer. Somehow when my stomach is 
empty. I'll feel the pain right away. When I start 
writing the manuscript, I feel my stomach turning 
upside down. And when I grab my stomach with 
both my hands, I feel my hands are tied up. I can 
even see the creamy yellow gastric juice when I 

vomit. Until last year, any time it happened, I 
would not force myself too much and I would fill 
my stomach right away. Somehow I managed to do 
something about it. But this time it was not the 
case. I did not have appetite and food could not 
seem to reach my stomach. Even if I forced myself 
to eat, I would throw up right away. On top of it, 
for the past month, I felt that this situation would 
never end. Even when I went to see the doctor, I 
would not get better. Even if I coughed my lungs 
out, I would still not stop coughing. From my throat 
came a voice that was at the verge of dying. It was 
painful, I was in tears. When I coughed, I felt that I 
was trying to force my lungs to breath in some air. 

It was a terrible situation for me. Moreover, it was 
really painful for my lungs to breathe in the air that 
was piled up in my stomach. My tongue would get 
tense and saliva started coming out. I would not 
speak for at least an hour. 

[ 232 ] 

And just like that, it turned into a real stomach 
ulcer. I had to cancel the fishing trip that I was 
looking forward to because I couldn’t stand the 
pain. In the middle of the night, I had to get out of 
the hotel because it hurt so much. I was going to go 
for a walk and breathe some fresh air because I 
couldn’t sleep and finally I decided to go to the 
hospital when I started coughing and my stomach 
killed me every time I cough. The pain was way 
too intense. 

Once I arrived, the doctor ordered me to take some 
Barium and took an X-ray of my stomach and I 
figured the cause why I got this stomach ulcer... 

I've been working too hard. 

It used to be that I would finish my manuscripts 
during the night. I always work better overnight 
and I would go to sleep in the morning. But this 
time, I couldn’t finish the second page of it. I 
forced myself to eat something to get some energy 
but to no avail. I just couldn’t continue. Finishing 
the second page and with so many ideas and 

enthusiasm to write. I had to quit and I got sad 
because of it. In the morning, once again, I rushed 
to the hospital. I did my best to get better but I still 
failed and I let a lot of people down but had my 
body not started screaming at this moment. I would 
still have pushed myself to this sad state after 
pouring so many ideas on my pages. 

I was stuck in bed. I felt a lot of things that were 
escaping from my body here and there, High fever, 
shoulder pain, my neck pain was so bad I couldn’t 
turn it even if I wanted. The gums from my back 
tooth started swelling and even though I could 
touch my cheek softly, The pain was horrible and 
almost unbearable. As if I was pushing invisible 
nails, those suckers that you couldn’t see but you 
feel the real pain behind them!! Even swallowing 
spit would give me a painful vibration. I open my 
mouth and the muscles between my teeth turned 
black. Even if I chew a small gran of rice would 
give me considerable pain. Sincerely I can't wait 
until I'm better so I can eat something else beside 

warm soup. 


Why is he writing this? You might ask, I had the 
great idea that writing about it would ease the pain 
a little but is not the case, it hurts even more. 
Another idea of mine that doesn’t work. When it 
comes to our bodies, we must be humble and not 
overconfident. We can't muscle out the pain every 
single time. We never know when we will become 
sick and weak. For us, humans, we can't stay sick 
for much longer. Getting sick sucks. I think I heard 
someone say once “Everyone has their own limits” 
so I tell you, once you feel you reached your limit, 
just do what you can. You are not doing yourself 
favors by running until you're dead. Stay healthy 
and give up once in a while. You are not going to 
win all your battles in this life anyway. 

Anyway, to end this volume in a good note, let's me 
tell you a little of what's coming next. In \blume 2, 

Tanba will meet Matsuo Shozan. How would they 
find each other? What would be their reaction? I 
keep visualizing the scenes in my mind but I can't 
write them right now. I want to start writing so 
bad. You will really enjoy it. 

Please look forward to it, I promise you that, from 
Volume 1 to Volume 3 I won’t let you down. 

Until we meet again. 

Showa period, year 60, June 13 th of 1985. In 


Yumemakura Baku. 


Blank Page 

[ 235 ] 

Jirou Kitaue (chief editor of Futabasha action 

A few years ago, I wrote a small review on the 
novel “Chimera” by Yumemakura Baku. The words 
"deep, dazzling, and sad" came to mind 
immediately. That's what I was thinking the whole 

time I was writing the review. 

The story was superb, the characters were dazzling 
and sparkling, the plot was deep and all that was 
great but why did I find it sad? 

I thought about it, even after re-reading 
“Garouden” a couple of times, I still can't 
understand why there was sadness in a 
Yumemakura Baku action novel. So this time, I'd 
like to take the oportunity to write about it. 

From his first short stories "Nekohiko no 
Oruorane" to his popular series “Chimera” and 
“Yamigari shi” (Leader of demon hunters) 
Yumemakura Baku works are always “One step 
close to reality”. When you think about it, the 
characteristics that he bring to the table is always 
the perfect mixture of fantasy and reality. The fact 
that nowadays people tend to separate what is 
“fantasy” and what is “believable as fiction” and 
he comes and create a “Hard fantasy” is absolutely 
astounding, his stories are truly unique. 

From his purely fantastical work of "Nekohiko no 
Oruorane" his standpoint was clear. Then he 
started “Chimera” and “Yamigari shi” and he 
started cementing his reputation as a talented 
fantasy writer. 

But starting in 1985, he seemed to hang his 
“Fantasy” coat and started work on “Garouden” 
and “Shishi no mon” 

To give you a better example, this was written in 
the original first edition of “Garouden volume I” 
(published by Futabasha in 1985. [for the english 
version we're using and quoting the pages of “The 
Bound Volume I” a 2006 omnibus edition] 

—“For Yumemakura Baku, this is the first attempt 
as a profesional author to write a novel without 
adding any science-fiction or fantastical elements 
from the occult.”— 

The plot was quite simple: There’s a strong man 
“Bunshichi Tanba” that likes to fight, but six years 
ago he was defeated by a pro wrestler by the name 
of “Toshio Kajiwara” and since then, he has been 
dreaming of confronting him again. 

[ 236 ] 

He continued his training and finally after 
countless battles, he was finally able to fight 
Toshio Kajiwara six years later at Yamashita park 
when both men were at their peak of their abilities. 
When you summarize the story in a few lines, you 
might think we’re misleading you in some way, but 

no, that’s pretty much the whole story. 

Of course there were other interesting characters 
like Ryoji Kubo, a boy that idolizes Tanba. The 
founder of the strongest Karate School in Japan 
“Matsuo Shozan” and his top disciple, a 
mysterious man called “Himekawa Tsutomu” and 
Kawabe from the Toyoo pro-wrestling group, the 
employee of a man known as “The Great Tatsumi”. 
However, if this story doesn’t have fantastical 
settings or Sci-Fi elements like his previous 
works, the only thing he would be able to focus in 
his writing is Tanba's frustrations and flashbacks 
leading to the climatic final fighting scene. 

He also mentioned that he wanted to work in the 
“modern Miyamoto Musashi story” and wondered 
why nobody had tried it before besides the “action 
manga guys” Only authors like Yumemakura Baku 
wonder about such things and henceforth he was 
inspired to craft such a unique physical fighting 


“Simple plot?” as if, A very deep story. Just look 
at the fighting scenes, didn’t you get excited just 
reading about it? Were the scenes repeating in your 
mind both in slow motion and sometimes as fast as 

a flash? 

However, there was also sadness in this novel, for 
example, when you finished reading the end of the 
climax of the battle against Kajiwara, were you 
cheering for his final victory or suddenly you felt 
you might want to cry? Why? 

There’s a number of hints regarding to this, first, 
the final line of the novel “He had fought with 
himself.” means that; because “Garouden” is a 

fighting novel, the meaning of sorrow cannot be 
solved. That's all it is. 

“Fukkatsuru Machi” is a long collaborative novel 
series where the main character “Karura Bunkichi” 
earns his living by betting on Shogi. This doesn’t 
mean that there has never been a novel that 
featured Shogi as a theme. But this isn't a 
“Biography” or a “Mystery” novel. It doesn’t even 
show you the scores of the games. This “Karura 
B u nkichi” is the father of “Karura Bumpei” who 
appears in “Shishi No Mon”. That Bumpei also 
appears here, also “Hikoroku Hashiba” too. To the 
delight of fans, the author makes a cross-over 
between “Fukkatsuru Machi” and “Shishi no Mon” 
and they'll be happy to read about it but, actually, 
"Fukkatsuru Machi" is an unimaginable fighting 

novel of a man who is obsessed with Shogi. 

[ 237 ] 

What kind of novel is “Fukkatsuru no Machi”? All 
we can say is “about fighting” the fighting 
obviously happens in a board with pieces. “What 
kind of rook will he use?” “What kind of moves 
will he counter?” “How will he counter this?” “He 
lost once to this guy, will he get beaten again?” 
“With what tactics?”. It is a suffocating fight that is 
developed on a board. It is a “one of a kind” story. 
But if you care little about Shogi rules and traps 
and just want the “pure fighting” then you need to 
go and read its twin novel “Garouden” It is an 

extremely miraculous novel. 

When it comes to “Garouden” I understand it 
perfectly. For starters, it's a novel about men that 
are strong, skilled fighters and naturally they bump 
on each other while being drunk on the fame, 
fortune, lights, the applause of the masses or 
simply the adrenaline of a combat situation. If 
Yumemakura Baku were to do a “Shogi” series, he 

still would use “pure fighting” as his core and 
would make it about Strong men bumping on each 
other. I've never seen an author like him. But this 
is the greatest hint. 

Look at “Moushuu no Kaze” a novel story that has 
been compiled in “Fukkatsuru no Machi” Onita 
Keisuke is an amateur Shogi player that cannot 
become pro because of the restriction on age 
limits, but still dreams on breaking those age 
barriers and becoming a pro. In the word 
“fighting” that Yumemakura often writes in his 
novels it is the keyword to solve this problem. 

How can he do it? 

Onita doesn’t want fortune or fame, Onita wants to 
become a pro because he could not find worthy 
opponents among the other amateurs. He was the 
strongest. Moreover, Onita was looking for a 
stronger opponent, which means, going pro was the 
only solution. However, the road to become a pro 
has closed for him forever and Onita's moment of 
suffering began there. 

In “Garouden” Bunshichi was hoping to fight the 
wrestler Kajiwara but Toyoo pro wrestling 
wouldn’t let him due to the so called "organization 
wall." But Tanba is a hero that desires to fight 

with strong people wherever, whenever. 

Garouden is the quintessential “pure fighting” 
novel, nonetheless, physical body and bare flesh 
are not the only context of his work. If you want 
something of the “fighting genre” then a novel like 
“Fukkatsuru no Machi” would be good for you. 
The point is not the physical body, there’s also the 
point that the character has a motivation to become 
stronger. That’s why “Fukkatsuru no Machi” came 

into existence. 

Then, why it is sad? 

[ 238 ] 

“Wanting to become stronger” It is because of this 
dream If you have an opponent you could fight, it 
will be very beneficial if you train yourself before 
the upcoming match. But if you win, what will 
happen? Will you discard your goal after that? 
There’s always self contradiction in “wanting” and 
“having it”. If you want to escape from the 
contradiction, there's no other way but to keep your 
dream alive. In the climax of “Garouden I” 
Bunshichi almost cried when Kajiwara told him “I 
was scared of you.” At that very moment, he lost 

both, opponent and goal. 

Of course, this story is not over yet, because this 
series will be a trilogy and, who knows, maybe 
more (after all, is it May 1998 as we speak) There 
will be more characters jumbled together coming 
at him, and if Bunshichi was alive in the real 
world, then it will be assumed that his next 
opponent would have to be Shozan Matsuo. I 
wonder if the final clash between these two 
characters will be the final curtain of “Garouden.” 
For some final words, the story that Yumemakura 

Baku writes is about the dreams of men, while 
relentlessly pursuing these dreams they will also 
face darkness, transience of dreams, fragility, and 


VOLUME 3***] 

Wow, it went longer than three volumes, who 
would have known!!? I don’t have much space left 
but I wanted to comment about my favorite scene 
of volume III. There was a dead serious fight 
between Kajiwara and Nagata. In the middle of the 
battle, Kawabe gets in the middle and stops them, 
but not without injury!! Nagata keep screaming “I 
will quit this organization!!” while punching, 
kicking and beating Kawabe. It was really touching 
to see Kawabe silently taking all that beating 
without moving a muscle, only tears were rolling 
down his cheeks. There are many male characters 
in “Garouden” that often impress the readers, but 

personally, my chest hurts every time I visualize 
Kawabe with tears rolling from his eyes. He's a 
man that has no other option but to stay in the 

I also wanted to comment on the characters 
problems but my space is running out. I guess I 
will have another ocasion to write about this series 
and its characters. I will take it as my homework 
until then... 


Ichido Reichan (leader of the wild fang 


“You are crazy, you know that? You know how 
much it will cost you?” 

I am, yes, I am sorry... No I’m not, I enjoy this 
craziness. This line above you. Do you know how 
much people love to repeat it to me, over and 
over? And we get it done, Movies, manga books, 
interviews and now our first novel is done. 

Wait...What? I finished a novel?? but I am so lazy!! 
I read comics, play games and watch movies all 
day. Besides my day job, do you know how many 
hobbies I have? Well, I was scared...not everyday 
you decide to become Tolkien or J. J R. Martin. 
Worse yet, “In Japanese” but let's start from the 
beginning. Why a novel? Why this novel? Why 

Back in 2001, about 15 years ago, I became 
obsessed with a particular TV anime fighting 
series “Grappler Baki” It came as quick as it came 
in Japan thanks to Hong Kong editions, The 
translations were horrible but it was very 
watchable. Two anime seasons came and went and 

the main character lost his mom, killed by his dad 
and I shared that fictitious sadness which was very 
real to me. His situation was somewhat alike to 
mine so I became to invested in it. 

....until it stopped....forever.... 

Damn!! what to do?? how will this thing continue? 
No more animation...I guess...I’ll have to buy the 

By 2003 and $300.00 spent later on a big box from 
Japan, I got it all!! I was going to find out how the 
anime continued the story of the boy fighting alone 
against big guys but I couldn’t understand a thing!! I 
don't have many Japanese friends and the ones that 
I have do not want to be annoyed by comics they 

read once and forget about them. 

So advancing a few months, I just figured out the 
pretty pictures and by the end of the last collection 
(42 volumes the first and 26 volumes the 2 nd ) I 
discovered would continue, but nobody 

knew for how long. 

“Why do you collect books you can’t read?” good 

question but I wanted to read them, so I used the 
last resort available for me, I'm good at making 
deals!! So first I tried to deal with these guys that 
knew how to erase bubbles in Japanese and add 
English on them and read the comics digitally. No 
avail, I was ignored and taken for a fool. Then I 
learned myself to do it, No avail, it came ugly as 
crap. Then I gave some books to a dude to translate 
3 volumes, No Avail, dude did one and half. Then I 
paid a guy in Russia to translate, No avail, dude 
translated 2 out of the 4 volumes that I paid in 
advance (why would you do that!!? cause it was 
cheap and I TRUSTED!!) so eventually I finished 4 

and quit the thing. 


At the time I had only four friends (the group) and 
one of them was kind enough to finish volume 5 
from the french edition and that's when the 
popularity of our group exploded "The Wild Fang 

Project" created solely for the purpose of finishing 
all things "Grappler Baki" I told myself" I’ll finish 
this thing and I'll quit. 

But to no avail, once the french edition stopped at 
volume 9, all sort of help stopped and to continue, 
not only I needed to keep people working in 
Japanese translations for me...I had to pay them, 
and pay them "good". 

So, I made the group private, set schedules, 
deadlines, donations, guarantees of speed and 
quality in exchange of monetary support and VIP 
status for my members and even though I became 
hated for it, we advanced to volume 27 of the 
target series of "Baki" in 8 months!!! (I decided to 
skip the first cause you can watch the anime for it) 
and then...It stopped, we caught up to it. 

So, having money and plenty of time left waiting 
for a new volume every two months, I needed a 
"filler" series so I researched more about fighting 
manga from the author of Baki and fortunatelly I 
found a rough and cool series about this guy that 

started street fights for nothing, you guessed it 
"GAROUDEN" The J apanese comic book series. 

Working on Garouden was a pleasant time in my 
life, I remember spending some good cash and 
visualizing the fights and I fell in love with the 
battle of\blume 14 and 15, those two men, best 
friends, admiring each other and fighting crudely to 
destroy each other but not because of hate, because 
of the passion of fighting. 

I hardly remember when the manga started coming 
out and many fans of the series started popping out 
from the internet. It is a personal satisfaction of 
mine having introduced GAROUDEN to the world 
and I cried with it. I cried with the battle of 
Crybaby Sakura and Great Tatsumi (this doesnt 
exist in the novel, so spoilers are pointless) also 
my group of sponsors became passionate about 
Jyumei Kuga, a dark karate master that doesn't 
screw around. 

So as beautiful and cool as the manga was, the 

manga author got into an argument with the original 
publisher that owned the rights of the manga series, 
they let him have his 25 volumes but beyond that, 
They still own the continuation of the series and 
the manga author has put the story on hold since 
2010. After two amazing Videogames for 
playstation two, one great movie that inspired the 
comic book series and the constant doubt that it 
will return. I had enough. There is a reason why 
we love this story so much, either manga, game or 
live action movie (we worked and played all 

It is time to advance to the next level in this 

Damn!! what to do?? how will this thing 
continue? No more Manga...I guess...I’ll have to 

buy the novel and advance to the next level. 

Translating the source of GAROUDEN.... 

[ 241 ] 

And after a year and a month of working with a 
translator, raising funds to complete it, here we 
are, nice to meet you and I hope you enjoyed our 
first novel of “Garouden” I realized that a lot of 
the inspiration for “Baki” came from this novel 
series. Fast forwarding into 2016, Yumemakura 
Baku has sold dozens of millions of books in his 
Native Japan. 

His works have inspired movies, series and manga 
series, some of them originals, some based on 
current works. 

His latest achievement is a big budget production 
of “Everest: in the summit of the gods” to be 
released in 2016. 

His released books are more than 350 and he keep 
writing his hit series “Chimera” and “Leader of the 
Demon hunters” but we, as a fighting fans we are, 
we will concentrate in releasing his series 
“Garouden” and “Shishi no Mon” 

“You are crazy, you know that? You know how 
much it will cost you?” 

Yes, a lot!! I am, yes, I am sorry... No I’m not, I 
enjoy this craziness. This line above you. Do you 
know how much people love to repeat it to me, 
over and over? And we get it done, Movies, manga 
books, interviews and now our second novel will 
start production soon and I invite you to read it, 
after you read it. If you still feel like it can't be 
done then don’t worry about it. Life will keep 
going as always but if you help us in this project 
and you enjoy reading Baku's favorite pure fighting 
novel series. Help us, we need your enthusiasm 
and economic help to finish this whole novel 
series. There are 13 novels plus a special chapter 
(fist of the blue wolf) for the first series. The 
manga ends in volume 7 of the novels, the second 
series are called “Shin Garouden Hiden Kiku Shiki 
Hen" (New Garouden: the saga of the secret 

fighting styles parts one and two, two novels of 
350 pages each) and the third and probably final 
series "Shin Garouden Kenshin Kotei Hen" (New 
Garouden: The saga of gods against emperors parts 
one and two) also two 350 page novels plus 8 
"shishi no mon" which is done because we love 

Jyumei Kuga and he's the main bad guy there. 

So, how can you help? We will let you know, in the 
meantime look around for The Wild Fang Project, 
we're closer than you think. We will see you again 
in our next book Release. In the meantime, here's a 
sample of "Shishi no mon" 

Until then. 

Ichido reichan: Main editor and leader of the Wild 
Fang Project 

January 16 2016 

End of Volume 1 


For your enjoyment, here's an extra 
bonus for you, SHISHI NO MON 
chapter 1, the full volume will be 
availiable in mid 2016. 


Super violent fighting novel series 

Volume one: The wolfpack Arc 

-Translations by Miyuki 
- Production, design and rewritten 

edition by Ichido Reichan 

- Corrections by Mindblighter 

- Project financed by The Wild Fang 

- originally written as SHISHI NO MO\ 

- all rights reserved by Kobunsha. 

[ 001 ] 


-[006] INTRO 
-[007] PROLOGUE 

- CHAPTER I: Chikusho fist 

- CHAPTER H: Gedo fist (TBA) 

- CHAPTER HI: Gaki fist (TBA) 

- CHAPTER IV: Nio fist (TBA) 

- CHAPTER V: His turn (TBA) 


- Words from the author 

- Words from Wild fang project editor 
Ichido Reichan 

[ 006 ] 


It would be easy to make a novel of "good guys 
against bad guys" but you'll know how it ends. 

How do we separate the "good" from the "bad 
guys"? are the bad always bad? what if the bad 
guys are amazing martial artists and we can’t help 
but admire their core and arts? 

Well my dear reader, this novel doesn’t have any of 
that, there isn't a clear "hero" or "nemesis" as you 
might have figured out. We have five main 

characters and we have no idea how their paths 
will cross. Five unusually strong and talented guys 
by the name of Kikuchiyo Akuta, Kan Takechi, 
Reiji Shimura, Bunpei Kakura and Takeshi Muroto. 

You can pick your favorite from the group and chee 

They will meet him, they will compete, they will 
fight against each other, they will improve their 
skill and eventually the five stories will become 
one. Come and enjoy the stories of men that are 
looking forward to discover themselves in the heat 
of battle, to challenge the strongest fighters around. 
Let the lions get loose in a paradise of fierce 

Yumemakura Baku. 

[ 007 ] 


The wind was blowing everywhere, sweeping the 
prairie relentlessly, 

making that wet atmosphere seemed like the wind 
turned somehow into a green color. 

The majestic sky with a gray blanket of solid gray 
let a few thunderclouds slide and slowly, a shade 
of light opened its way, bigger and bigger, as if the 
mighty force of light erased the gray across the sky. 
The blue sky opened a greater space as if a strong 
force behind it was pulling the strings, pushing the 
clouds away to fade into the horizon. 

Like a fierce hammer striking down from the sky 
upon the land, the sun's rays landed on the prairie, 
but this didn’t stop the rain from pouring on the 

land, one strike of sunlight, one stride of rain, the 
wind is still green and still wet on the ground. A 
waist-high sea of daisies and green lilies waving 
furiously; it appeared as you could sink in them. 
The wind drove all this green vegetation left and 
right, in all directions, you couldn’t miss it, the 
wind was visible wherever you looked. 

[ 008 ] 

It was here that Hikoroku Hashiba was facing one 
of the most intimidating men he had ever met. 

This man across Hikoroku had sharp crescent eyes, 
and by the look of his face, one could estimate that 
he was in his forties, most likely forty-three or 

What was a little startling about him was the color 
of his skin: it was almost like a dark solid iron 
color and, combined with his iron-sharp glance as 
if a million needles were launched to Hikoroku 
just by staring at him. There was no doubt that this 

encounter was going to end violently. 

Everything the man was wearing was black: his 
shoes, his long pants and a shirt with long sleeves, 
both men were soaking wet and Hikoroku, wearing 
just a pair of comfy jeans and a cotton shirt, felt as 
if he wasn’t really wearing anything on his chest. 
The shirt was stuck on his skin and was showing 
the form of his abs and the color of his skin; water 
was sliding down from each end of both men’s long 
strings of hair. 

"I heard master Rosen had passed away" Hikoroku 
spoke with a soft tone. 

"It was because of you!! It's your fault!!" The man 
replied with a strident voice. 

"My fault? How can it be?" 

"You challenged him and soon after that he died 
from his wounds" 

"That’s very unfortunate, I never intended for that 
to happen." 

"Tell your excuses to someone who cares." 
[ 009 ] 

Swiftly, the man took a stance and slowly started 
moving towards Hikoroku, effectively closing the 
distance between them. 

"Wait!!" Hikoroku yelled at the man. 

"I won't..." the man replied... 

'Tve waited for this moment for the last three 
years, this will be settled today..." 

He was ready to spring at him. Lowering his waist, 
the opening attack would be swift and 


A moment of silence, both men standing still while 
a thick beam of sunlight illuminated both of them, 
their space and then it kept moving towards the wet 
and green prairie. 

Soon enough, the rain eased up a bit, still frozen in 
the moment, both men were staring at each other 
until a move broke the silence, it was a sound, a 
scary sound, but not a loud or a startling sound. 

It was a breath.... 


The man took a deep breath and when the glance in 
his eyes turned deadly, he dashed across towards 


[ 010 ] 


-ACT 1 

He was just a kid walking down an asphalt road ii 
The sleeves of his big T-shirt were very loose 
because of the skinny arms of this kid. If by a joke 
we were to fit two or three more kids inside this 
shirt, they would have fit without a problem. 

The legs that were visible from the pants also lack 

The mud on his knees was almost dry, his pants 
were pretty wet around his waist and a big, black 
stain was visible. He must have been playing or 
exploring around water somewhere probably. 

In his left hand he was carrying a blue plastic 
bucket and in his right hand he was carrying a half- 

torn net that had a bamboo handle, a few plastic 
bags and some other small items. 

This was the high season of crayfish in the river clc 

Elementary kids that tried hard to catch them could 
catch about fifty of them in half a day, only using a 
small net and some enthusiasm. It would seem that 
this kid was coming back from that particular 
crayfish hunting. The dark orange color of the 
sunset was reflected on his back. In a different time 
of the year it would be dark and the moon would 
be out but as of late, it was the sun that was still 
shining warm. 


It was pleasant that the rainy season was over a 
few days ago. The sun heating the asphalt was 
making the air grow dense and one could feel the 
hot heavy air rising from the ground. The kid was 
dressed looking like an elementary school student 

but in reality he was a junior in high school. His 
fellow classmates wouldn’t be interested in 
walking with him to catch crayfish with nets and 
buckets. They would much prefer going to the 
arcade with plenty of pocket change or going to 
comic books stores to catch up on their favorite 
releases and check out the new stuff or simply stay 
at home playing with their computers and video 
games after browsing the specialty stores during 
the day. 

The kids his age have many hobbies and interests 
other than hunting for crayfish because they think 
that that particular activity is "weird" or 
"something little kids do". 

He was walking for an hour or so and the fields 
were being left behind. Now he was entering the 
residential area, night was about to start but it 
wasn’t quite dark just yet. The red of the sky was 
mixed with dark blue in the horizon which gave a 
nostalgic look: a warm and sweet air with a soft 
ocean scent wafting over the town. 

He turned right on a corner of the road where a 
large house with a tall fence was erected first in a 
row of average looking houses, fitting the standard 
of a small town neighborhood. 

But the road didn’t have only houses, there was a 
mom and pop's convenience stores with the 
vegetables and some produce in carts on the street, 
a few coffee shops here and there, a pub, bars and 
some stores. 

The boy tried hard not to pay attention to the stores 
or the people around it, he kept walking straight 
with his chin down, a few blocks up, a park 
appeared on his right, it had a seesaw, a sand box, 
a big slide and a jungle gym. It even had a 
restroom and some food vendors, you could even 
organize an improvised match of badminton or 
baseball in the field and there were still a group of 
loud kids playing at the park when the street lights 
started lighting up. 

[ 012 ] 

There was this woman wearing a long apron and 
sandals trying to call the attention of a child that 
was playing in that park. It seemed as if she was 
trying to tell the child that playtime was over and 
that dinner was ready. When our kid arrived there, 
he stopped and stood there for a short while. 

A white dog suddenly popped his head out from the 
azalea trees that were planted around the park and 
suddenly he started staring at the boy with a 
menacing look. 

Opening his lips, he started growling and showing 
his teeth to the kid as if trying to find out why the 
boy was trespassing in his territory and what were 
the contents of that bucket that was making a 
particular screeching noise inside of it. 

It was obvious that the kid started getting scared of 

the dogs behavior, so without thinking it twice, 
he swung the net towards the dog and once the dog 
retreated, he ran to the other side of the street, 

But running across made the dog chase him with 
more intensity and eventually caught the kid easily. 
Without many options left, the kid swung the net 
again, hitting the face of the dog that caught the net 
and when the kid tried to pull it out, the fangs 
caught the net strongly and it wouldn’t let go. 

The net was trapped in the fangs of the dog. 

The dog was getting more violent and started 
shaking his head more vehemently. Thick-necked, 
the dogs power was immense and the skinny kid 
was swaying because of it. The fangs started to 
change the metal net's shape from a round form to a 
more oblong one, it was ruined. 

Because the dog was growling, chewing the metal 
net continuously and the movement was becoming 
more intense, the shaft of the net bumped the dog 
square in the chin and that made the situation 
worse as the dog became even more furious. His 

hair stood on its end and white bubbly saliva 
started pouring and falling from the beast jaw. 

[ 013 ] 

"Hey!! Knock it offl!!" 

The same woman that came looking for the child 
screamed the dogs name loudly Maybe she was the 
owner of the dog, or perhaps her neighbor, but in 
either case, calling the dogs name in a high voice 
has an adverse reaction to the situation and dogs 
get confused thinking that the owner is cheering for 
them to neutralize the threat rather than leave it be. 

Shaking his head crazily without growling or 
biting, the net finally got disentangled from his 

Finally free, the dog gave chase to the boy that 
started running desperately. Jumping at him, he 
tumbled him on the ground and gave a solid bite to 
the boy's butt. 

The boy's short pants got half slipped and blood 
started pouring from his right leg, you could see a 
pale and small pair of hips showing up and the bite 
wound was uncovered, bleeding profusely. 

The bucket fell out of the kid's hands and after the 
dog bit him, he started barking at him for a while 
and then jumped at the plastic bag to chew 
whatever was inside of it. The boy promptly stood 
up and pulled away the bag from the dog and 
realized it ripped apart. 

The curious thing about this encounter with the boy 
and the dog was that the boy never cried or 
screamed at the horrible wound and pain caused by 
the dog. He just stood up, took a hard breath, a 
slight groan and tried to recover the bag and the 
bucket from the floor but because his pants where 
mid waist he lost his balance and fell backwards, 
that's when the dog decided to jump and attack him 

Stumbling violently, he hit his head on the concrete 
and tried desperately to kick the dog away but the 
dog caught one of his feet and started biting his feet 
under his shoes. 

[ 014 ] 

In a desperate struggle, he sat down as best as he 
could and smacked the dog in an eye with a closed 
fist. The dog shook his head and started scratching 
his skin with his four limbs. All across the kid's 
legs red lines started showing up and the scratches 
were so many that it felt that they were made with 
a sharp fork. 

The kid grabbed the dog by the neck hair and they 
both crumpled on the concrete floor. The woman 
now started sounding quite desperate in his 
screams for the dogs name but a kind neighbor got 
out of a house to help the kid. This man was 
running with mountain shoes and threw a kick that 
caught the dog right in the stomach. With a yelp, the 
dog jumped and retreated due to the pain. 

Stupid ass mutt!! Get the hell outta here!! 

Chasing the limping dog away, he looked at the 

"Hey boy, are you alright!?" 

He crouched and got close to the kid without 
touching him, disinterestedly, the boy sat down for 
a few minutes and stayed still. The t-shirt was 
completely ripped and various scratches, bumps 
and drops of blood were all over the kid. The 
wounds on his legs looked especially serious but 
he stayed silent. 

It was hard to watch how miserable the bloody 
wound on his bare hips looked like but even when 
the man was trying to help him, once he looked the 
man directly in the eyes, the kid stared down and 
did nothing but breath heavily and kept silent. 

"Where do you live?" the woman asked a useless 

question just to show a vague interest in helping 
but he didn’t answer to it. The man offered a hand 
to him so he could stand up but the kid ignored it. 
Instead, he started pulling up his pants while still 
sitting in the asphalt, at this point, it felt like the kid 
wanted to be rude on purpose, he stood up still 
looking at the ground while sweating buckets from 
his forehead. He was standing still while a 
mysterious cracking noise started coming out from 

[ 015 ] 

"What is that?" in many a movie about monsters 
and serpents we would hear that cracking noise 
that would belong to a rattlesnake, but this one was 
different, it was weird and with a high pitch. 
Because it was getting darker, the sound was 
creepier but the bucket was still sitting on the 

A bunch of bright red creatures like small lobsters 
started crawling out of the bucket but these weren't 

twenty or forty of them, there weren't even sixty, 
there was more than a hundred of them 
At first, the woman and the man had no idea what 
those were and the woman gave a soft scream 

"Ah! Right, you were catching crayfish, the season 
is coming in full swing, I see" 

They weren't just "crayfish" They were American 
crayfish, the hardest to catch, not that they would 
figure that out with a simple glance. The forceps of 
those crayfish were removed masterfully but 
nonetheless, it was like a creepy spectacle. The 
man’s face was in shock once he looked at the side 
of the ripped plastic bag. The contents of the bag 
were visible and quite startling, it was the ripped 
forceps of the crayfish, many of them were still 
moving and clapping as if they had life of their 

'Hey, what's.... 

The man asked but looking at the fierce eyes of the 
silent boy, still looking down, he said with a 
resilient voice. 

"Kikuchiyo Akuta..." 

That was his name, he was only fourteen. 

[ 016 ] 

-ACT 2 

He was a weird kid, not only in terms of his 
personality but his looks were really strange. 

His face didn’t even look like that of a kid at all or 
even human for that matter. If we might be so bold 
to say it, he was sort of "reptilian looking". 
Without trying to make fun of him, we can assure 

you that looking at him you'd feel the presence of 
somebody that really look like a lizard with long 
crescent eyes. 

His eyes gave a weird look because they were 
tilted a bit as well. His face never shows any sign 
of expression at any time and even though his face 
looked reptilian, his personality was more mouse¬ 
like. A very wet and frightened mouse that was too 
skinny to face the real world. 

Comparing him to other kids his age, he was way 
too short and scrawny for his size. 

Every time he had to talk to someone, he’d always 
look down to the ground, and, if someone tried to 
make eye contact with him, his lack of expression 
would turn into fear right away. 

He would talk, give a quick look and look down 
right away, he’d do this with everyone, even with 
the adults of his family, more so with the only 
parent he had, his mother, especially with his 

Yes, he lived only with his mother in this coastal 
town that was located about an hour from Tokyo by 
train. Living in a humble rented house in a quiet 
location, he usually never bothered to know who 
his father was, why he left or if he was alive at all. 
He never asked and his mother never bothered 
telling anyway, it was as if this man never existed 
in their lives. They never talked about him nor 
were they interested in such a useless topic for 

He remembered once asking where his father was, 
only to be met with furious eyes and punches from 
his irate mother who was inclined to sink herself in 
the stupors that alcohol offered rather than deal 
with her son’s feelings. 

She was drunk all the time and would turn violent 
on him quite often, hitting him and kicking him for 
reasons that made no sense. She got used to hit him 
with closed fists across his face and cheeks. He 

wouldn’t avoid them, or cry, or beg her to stop, 
he’d let her punch him over and over until her hand 
was bleeding and swollen and she passed out until 
the next day. 

[ 017 ] 

His mother's name was Reiko Akuta. Even though 
she looked way older due to the constant alcohol 
abuse, she was actually thirty four years old. She 
gave birth to Kikuchiyo when she was around 
twenty years old and she used to be employed 
somewhere around the neighboring town. 
Nowadays, close to sunset, she would apply flashy 
makeup on her face and light a cigarette and take 
off to work. 

Sometimes she would return at midnight, 
sometimes she’d return early in the morning. No 
matter how early or late she’d return, she always 
stayed up and served breakfast or dinner to 
Kikuchiyo. They were together before the boy went 
to school. This would happen without fail every 


Reiko has the distinction of being younger and 
more beautiful than any of the mothers of his 
classmates. Often he thought that she’d look even 
more beautiful without all that cheap makeup. 

"Why would she smudge that beautiful face of 

The boy could never understand that particular 
habit of women. 

Even though Reiko had never mentioned to him 
what kind of "employment" she had, he wasn’t 
stupid enough to ask, because he already knew it. 
He had seen it on television, when women needed 
quick sums of money, they resort to one thing. 

He figured that his mother got paid to drink, dance 
and party with men, entertain them, sometimes in 
ways that their own wives wouldn’t. He knew that 
these men would turn very generous once she’d 
welcome their advances, their hands on her breasts 

and her hips. 

"Men can't be trusted, they aren't reliable." 

His mom used to say every morning after returning 
from work reeking of alcohol and complaining 
about whatever happened that day to her. She got 
even more talkative when Kikuchiyo pretended 
with all his might to appear sound asleep, even 
though nobody could sleep with the noise she’d 
make when she arrived. 

"Don’t you dare look down on me, stupid, this is 
just a job!!" 

"Who cares about men with money!! I wouldn’t 
love them for all the money in the world, 
they are trash!! They are heartless men!!!" 

[ 018 ] 

'Damn him!! Oh shit!! 

"That asshole!! Getting carried away because I let 
him do it once!!" 

"Pfift!! we’ll see next time who has the last laugh" 

She kept mumbling these words aloud. She did this 
while cleaning her face and changing her working 
clothes. Then she would pour a cup of hot tea and 
make some more noise. 

That noise would always startle him and it was 
impossible to sleep after she returned home. Trying 
his best he pretended to be asleep. When the house 
was finally engulfed in silence, she would start 
sobbing quietly at first and then she would cry 
profusely for a long time. 

One time he tried to hug her and console her when s 
"I'm crying, you son of a bitch!! because you're 

here alive, I wish you'd never been born!!" 

Her screams got more intense and gradually more 

"I can’t wait for the day that you'll go away, you 
should leave right now!!" 

After saying that she hugged him harder and cried 

"I'm sorry, I didn’t mean it" 

She would apologize while still crying and 
sobbing, her breath would entangle her words. 

"If someday you decide to go away, I will follow 
you anywhere" 

She repeated the same words while hugging him 

"Going away? Where?" he had no idea where he 
should go. 

It was confusing his mind to no end. Every kind 
word and hurtful word was told seriously, as if she 
believed in all of them from the bottom of her 
heart. Did she hate him? Love him? 

Kicking him from home and following him 
afterwards? The concept of "going away" was 
vague for him. 

Kikuchiyo figured that when he’d be old enough, 
he’d move away to a "man’s place" one like that 
guy owned when he went to look for his mom at 
that place. One where he would live while going to 
work and returning home. More often than not, he’d 
feel intimidated by her actions but he didn’t hate 
her. He hated when she hit him and got drunk and 
irrational but he understood that he was simply a 
"punching bag" for her problems and frustrations. 
She took it out all on him, fighting and hurting that 
invisible force that made her miserable and 
snatched away her happiness, something that 
wasn’t Kikuchiyo at all. 

[ 019 ] 

He was punished because he was a poor substitute 
for the real problem. 

But it hurts for real when someone punches you 
with bad intentions, no matter how weak or how 
loving this person was with you, the pain you have 
to bear will be sharp and unforgiving. 

It felt worse to see his mother crying and 
frustrated, so he bore the pain and the punches 

That's why it was so hard to return home while 
knowing his mother was there; bleeding and 
looking like that after the mad dog incident. 

He had scars everywhere, a soft cascade of blood 
was pouring from his leg, right where the dog bit 
him and his t-shirt was completely torn. The blood 
had already clotted over the cut in his left leg. 
Kikuchiyo knew how furious his mother was going 
to be after she’d see him like that. 

He couldn’t help but walk and stand still in front of 

the door, for almost half hour. He figured his mom 
was out working for the rest of the day so he could 
arrive, take a shower and clean himself up. 
Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to be. She was 
drunk and home early. Sensing the boy at the door, 
she opened it and she got quite the surprise. 

"Damn!" he thought "Why is she at home at this 
hour!!?" the only day that he needed to be alone to 
avoid a conflict was the very day her mom got sour 
business and decided to call it a day at an early 
hour. Luck wasn’t with him, sometimes she 
wouldn’t return until the next morning but 
sometimes she’d stay at home drunk for two days 

The alcohol breath was the one that hit him first.... 
"Answer, who did this to you?" the tone of her 
voice was severe. 

He didn’t answer, he looked at the ground and 

What about your j ob? 

"swaaatam" a violent slap across his face was the 
second thing that hit him... 

He felt like hot fire was applied to his cheeks. 

"Who did this to you?" she repeated the question, 
her voice was unforgiving. 

[ 020 ] 

Kikuchiyo kept looking at the floor silently when, 
violently, the second slap took him off balance. 
"Splat!!" "Answer, who did this to you!!?" 

his cheeks stopped hurting but they were burning 
almost from the inside out. 

"BAAM" "Answer!!" SPLAT!! SPLAT!! "Who did 
this to you!!?" 

It was a pitiful and heartbreaking image, the mother 
and son were making a really somber scene. 

The son, bleeding and injured was standing there 
receiving silently slap after slap while the mom, 
rather than attending his wounds at once, decided 
to interrogate him with corporal punishment to find 
out what happened at once. 

But Kikuchiyo wasn't answering, and he got 

slapped violently again, 

and again... 

and once again.... 

and once more.... 

But looking at how his mother's hand was getting 
swollen and fearing she would sustain an injury, 
he decided to break his silence and told her the 
story of what happened in the park, the fish net and 
the mad dog. 

"Whose was the fucker or the bitch that owns that 
dog!!" she demanded with eyes filled with rage 
and launched another slap to keep Kikuchiyo 

I have no idea, mom' 

"Why not, you little shit!!" 

"I just don’t know, Mom." 

"Youretarded asshole!!" 

She took some time to launch a fierce slap with a 
heavy hand. 

After that, puffing and with a real sore hand, she 
grabbed him and sat him on the dinner table. 

She picked up the first aid kit, a towel and some 
water in a bowl and placed them in front of him. 

"You might be an idiot, but I'm sure you know how 
to take care of yourself, right?" 

That alcohol breath gave him the worse slap of the 
evening, even the hand slaps weren’t that 

But her face wasn’t pale because she was drunk. 
Actually, she looked very beautiful with that wild 
look and her eyes were bright and moist. They 
were giving a strong light, full of kindness and 

For a moment, Kikuchiyo heard his mother's 
footsteps coming out in the backyard and heard her 
perusing something in the back of the house. She 
returned almost half an hour later with a strange 
package that she tossed on the tatami mat where he 
was standing. 

"BAAM" the tatami made a heavy noise. 

[ 021 ] 

"Openit!!" she demanded. 

He quietly got on his knees and started unwrapping 
the strange gray package. 

The first thing he saw was the eerie light of a metal 

It was a small iron ax, sharp and heavy enough to 
be handled comfortably. 

He slowly glanced at her face as if asking... "What 
do I do with..?" 

"You are going to slaughter that mad dog tonight!!" 
She said this with furious ogre eyes. 

"Do not let dogs and men make a fool out of you. 
We are all alone, we all have to struggle in this life 
by ourselves and nobody will help you when 
you're alone!!" 

She was getting over excited while saying these 

"Tonight, you are going to kill that mad beast and b 

She finished her demands with an intimidating 
warning that was more scary than anything she had 
done before. 

"Do not return without the white dog's corpse or 
you will not be allowed to live here until you do." 

[ 022 ] 

-ACT 3 

The kid, Kikuchiyo left that night around nine 
o'clock, but didn’t return until the following night 
around midnight. It was an absurd amount of time 
but he was back the same way he returned home 
the previous night, standing there until his mom 
could sense that he was there. When she noticed 
that he was there he was silent, looking down. 
How long has he been there? 


Tumbling around, she stood up to open the door, 

nothing really had changed from the previous night. 
The towel, the water bowl and the medicine box 
were exactly in the place he had left them, even the 
paper that was used to wrap the ax was in the same 

There were two empty bottles of whiskey on top of 
the table that was visible from the entrance. 

That was the only thing that was different from the 
previous night, even her clothes were still the 

[ 023 ] 

She had been waiting for him, drinking whiskey 
without sleeping or going to work. 

When he returned, he was carrying a big black plas 

His t-shirt was even more ripped and bloody, after 
these two nights, it would become unusable. 

'Did you kill it?" Reiko demanded an answer. 

Without the smallest of facial expressions, 
Kikuchiyo slowly nodded. 

"Show me, I want to see it!!" Walking hastily to 
the doors, she almost tripped on her sandals. 

The edge of the plastic bag was filled with some 
liquid and it was there, hanging out swollen. 

Giving a simple look, she told him, 

"Don't open it yet!! Take it out to the garden." 

Both of them went out to the garden. In reality the 
space was too tiny to be called a garden, but it was 
available for them so that's what they called it, The 
metal fence was as high as his shoulders and it 
surrounded the house completely. In the small 
space between the house and the fence two 
shadows were moving, illuminated sometimes by a 
small lamp post. There was enough cover for them 
to carry on their ghastly business. 

Kikuchiyo placed the bag upside down and opened 
it. The sound of liquid pouring on the soft grass 
invaded the quiet night, as a river of dark water 
found it's way to the ground. 

Spatters of dark water splattered onto his tiny legs, 
but this wasn't dark water... 

It was blood. 

[ 025 ] 

An overwhelming stench of blood filled the air. 
After the blood poured from the bag, the bloody ax 
followed, falling into the deep pool of blood. It 
was still shining. Like something grotesque coming 
out from an empty shell, a heavy lump slided from 
the plastic bag, It was the lifeless head of that Mad 
white dog. It's tongue was hanging vertically to the 
ground and blood was dropping from the tip, it 
was a sinister sight and the stench was unbearable. 

Kikuchiyo shook the bag some more and the full 
body of the dog fell into the pool of blood. The ax 
and head, making a heavy splash and a ghastly 
sound. Any normal human being would have 
thrown up by the sight and smell already. 

But this was the beast that attacked the boy 
mercilessly and unprovoked. 

"This is the one, Mom, I waited in the park until it 

came out with his owner' 

"So this was the fucking dog that had the nerve to 
mess with us?" 

The small lamp made Reiko's eyes shine with the 
tears that were about to flow. 

The dog’s head was open and something thick, red 
and gooey was corning out of it. Reiko squatted 
close to the body, grabbed the fur and moved it to 
retrieve the ax from underneath. Holding it with 
her right hand, she felt it was slippery, so she put 
the ax down and wiped the blood from her hand on 
the white fur that wasn't soiled with blood, feeling 
a better grip. She held the ax once again and stared 
at the head with contempt, looking at the sharp 
fangs that once hurt her son. She was the only one 
in the world that was allowed to hurt her son but 
her attacks were done with love. This beast or any 
other beast, human or otherwise that dared to hurt 
her or her own would share this fate. 

I won’t be fooled!! 

She cocked the ax as high as she could, she was 
way too skinny to be holding the ax, but her wrath 
ignored the lack of power and making her shake all 
over, even the arm holding the ax, the beautiful 
face of Reiko Akuta turned into something evil and 


She struck down the ax while screaming loudly, the 
heavy edge struck the jaws of the dog, moving them 
out of place and making a "kchak" sound, cutting 
muscle and tendons. 

The ax was lifted again... 

She struck it down again... 

[ 026 ] 

'We are all alone!!" she screamed. 

She struck it down again and this time, there was a 
bone-cracking sound: the edge has finally reached 
the bone. She kept striking it down incessantly until 
the jaws broke down from the head and something 
white flew and hit her cheeks. It was a piece of 
bone, but not just any bone, it was a big fang. 

The same fang that bit Kikuchiyo and made him 
bleed. She destroyed it completely. 

With lips raised upwards, eyes opening wide and 
forming a diabolic smile full of spattered blood, 
That beautiful face was now nothing more than a 
vengeful demon. 

She screamed for violence and jumped violently at 
the maimed face to finish it until there was nothing 
else to hack the ax into, Head pieces exploding all 
around a bloody pool, there was no reason, no 
common sense in it. Humanity had disappeared 
from the kind woman. 

While in the hacking frenzy, she wondered how 
long she and her son would have to stand these 
ridiculous situations of abusive people and 
creatures that were owned by them, placing all the 

resentment and the fury for men and society itself 
in each swing and hack of the ax. 

It was a violent scene, as if a demon living inside 
Reiko had no other way to escape or express 
its feelings but possessing a poor crying woman 
and making her commit these atrocities. 

Kikuchiyo loved this tearful woman, but didn’t like 
it when she turned violent like this. 

He silently stood still looking down at her. He 
would endure whatever pain, insult or tribulation 
she could inflict on him, still. He never clearly 
understood the "going away" thing. 

[ 027 ] 

~ ACT 4 

It was a pleasant summer break but Kikuchiyo 
couldn’t find a place interesting enough to hang out 

this time of year. The coastal town was beautiful 
and there were tourists and visitors everywhere, 
tons of kids of all ages playing around and it would 
only take him a fifteen minute walk to reach the 
coolest spot to swim an the beach. So many fun 
things to do and enjoy, but there wasn’t a single 
person either on the beach or downtown that was 
his friend. He knew most of the local kids and the 
places they'd hang out, but none wanted to go with 
him to the river or to the sea. 

[ 028 ] 

He had a hard time speaking to people. He rarely 
talked to his classmates unless he was required to 
and because of this, he had no friends. 

In elementary school, one of the kids had made a 
stupid joke that his name sounded like a girls and it 
had stuck. Even today he was still being teased for 
that. Since he was most of the time alone at night, 
he watched as much television as he pleased. 

There was nobody there to scold him or tell him 
what to watch. He didn’t have to worry about the 
squabbles of Japanese families about what they 
wanted to watch, the television was his alone and 
he never missed any of his favorite shows. 

He knew everything about all the anime series, 
concerts, idol shows and movies his classmates 
liked to talk about at school. When they would talk, 
he overheard conversations and knew that there 
was a lot that they missed and he had watched. 
Sometimes he was the only one that had watched. 
Knowing more than the rest was his pride but there 
never was an opportune moment to talk about it. 

He always missed the chance due to his soft voice. 

All he could mutter was the name of the show or 
his favorite Idol and everyone ignored him and 
moved on, After he talked about his favorite shows 
and singers, his turn to speak was over. 

He couldn’t express very well why he liked some 

artists in comparison to other idols or elaborate 
more about why this show would be better than 
that other show another kid liked, or spread 
gossips about what was coming up in the popular 
TV programs. He failed something as easy as that, 
communication always betrayed him. 

His classmates cared little about him or his 

He could feel that he froze the happy atmosphere of 
the group every time he opened his mouth to talk. 
That was something that annoyed him to no end, he 
wanted to laugh and talk and have friends. But 
lately it was something that crushed his optimism, 
so he felt happier thinking that it would be easier 
not to talk to them instead. This worked at school 
but during the summer break, it was hard for his 
soul to see the same classmates hanging out, 
playing, talking and openly ignoring him when 
summer was in full swing. Furthermore, it would 
be really unpleasant and rude for him to not say 

anything to them when they were swimming in the 
sea or enjoying a day in the river. Even if he said 
"hi!" he’d have to keep talking, it would even 
appear that he was stalking them, even though, this 
was a tiny coastal town with a few places to have 

The only options available would be for him to sw 

[ 029 ] 

He knew his classmates thought he was weird and 
needed some serious help. 

"It’s so hard being around him" they would say 
openly, without making an effort to integrate him to 
the group. Some guys started spreading rumors that 
he was mentally challenged and just a plain idiot. 
There was nothing wrong about him but he felt 
everything was wrong at all times, especially 
coming across groups of girls, he would hear small 
giggles and hidden looks. He knew they were 

talking about him, inventing stories, believing 
rumors and who knows what else. 

To stop this destructive pattern, he would avoid the 
places they would be hanging out at in summer, 
hang out at places where nobody would know who 
he was or wondering what he was doing there. 

A place where no kids that knew him would go? 
The answer was stupidly simple. 

"I'll hang out at school" 

If he stayed at home, he’d have to hang out with his 
mother for half a day and tolerate her quirks and 
mood swings but there was a place that the kids 
would avoid like the plague. It worked just great 
because it was a beautiful location. 

Isogahara Junior High school was located right 
around the coast, a great place to swim at with 
little to no people hanging out, he’d be swimming 
alone without nobody annoying him. After 
swimming, there was a forest of pine trees not that 

far from there that he visited and would spend half 
a day lying down under the shade and breathing 
that sweet air. 

That was his secret hideout to spend his last 
summer week in good spirits. 

Something he loved doing in the forest was to 
catch all sorts of insects, there were so many. 

He got excited just thinking about it, he found 
oriental long headed locusts, tetrigidae, lady bugs, 
praying mantis, damselflies, long horned 
grasshoppers, and various unknown leaf insects. 
There were so many little insects under the trees 
that he spent hours catching them and the number 
of bugs never decreased no matter how many he 
squashed or chased, or played with. 

He would always find so many in the same place 
he caught them as the previous day. 

The insects were everywhere as if these maggots 
grew underneath the grass. 

Everyday he’d spend two hours catching cool 

looking bugs, but not to take them home as pets as 
kids usually do. No, he would look at them for a 
minute struggling and then, one by one, he’d start 
ripping out their legs, until there were no more 
legs, wings or antennae left. 

[ 030 ] 

He always saved crushing the head for last, no 
insect was to survive his hand grip. 

He did this for the small and thin bugs, but his 
favorite ones to crush were the praying mantis 
and grasshoppers, he enjoyed pulling their heads 
off after all their legs were gone. They came our 
easily after all the white stuff was wiped out. 
Strong and stinky grass fumes would stick to his 
nose and would also reek of dead insect blood but 
he made a discovery that woke a strange feeling 
within him. 

After ripping the wings, legs, antennae, the praying 
mantis was the only one that was still alive. After 
its head was ripped open, looking like a mere 

green stick, it would do a weird dance on his palm 
for a few seconds. He knew it was something cruel 
and perverse but he felt that he was watching an 
indecent show just meant for him, watching how a 
life that was robbed of legs, wings, head and 
simply looking like a green stick would still carry 
a hopeless fight for survival. 

That made him feel awful, but also, he felt a 
strange excitement about it, his crotch was hot and 
stiff and lifted hard, he felt good about being 

He'll still remember that day.... 

Kikuchiyo arrived really late at the school yard 
that day. The guys from the sports clubs were gone 
for the day and it was almost sunset, but somehow 
he was still there. 

He was waiting for someone, there was a girl that 
he was waiting to meet. 

Her name was Naoko Izawa, a sophomore that was 
attending class B. They didn’t arrange this meeting 

previously, he just saw her entering the school 
building because she was a member of the library 
committee. The students at Isogahara junior high 
were allowed to check out books twice a week 
during their summer break. Every week, two 
members of the library committee would come at 1 
pm and would stay a few hours until the other 
members arrived, they had about twenty members 
and they took turns to keep the library running 


That day was Noriko's turn to work in the library 
and he was waiting for her to end her shift and 
come out of the library to talk to her. He had nice 
conversations with her a few times and she took 
the time to listen without making him feel weird. 

This girl was about 5’ 6 ft. which it was pretty tall 
for a junior high school kid but her intelligence 

gave her an aura that made her more beautiful than 
she already was. Her dark straight hair fell around 
her shoulders, her nose, very cute and shapely, 
made her delicate face match with her wide eyes. 
Her lips, without lipstick, were very soft and gave 
her a mature look. 

There was a subtle innocence in her looks but her 
body was well developed for her age. 

She was pretty smart but not the outgoing, overly 
talkative type. She wouldn’t raise her hand to 
answer teacher's questions but she was capable of 
giving assertive answers when asked in class. 

She was also a bit eccentric and didn't talk to 
Kikuchiyo's classmates, but for different reasons 
than him. A few kids tried to ask her out on dates 
and talk to her but she would always cut the 
conversation short and while hanging out with her 
circle of friends, she would feel detached of the 
conversation no matter how hard they tried to 
integrate her. 

For her, Kikuchiyo wasn't "the weird creature" that 
everyone gossiped about, he was just 
another kid in school like all the others and it made 
him feel relieved that he can interact with her 
without prejudices. 

He saw her during class and she would smile when 
they eyes meet, that made him feel a sweet warmth 
in his chest and his heartbeat started speeding up. 
Noriko was in the school now, he was planning of 
seeing her walking home and going to his own 
home afterwards. It was a few minutes before 
sunset when she came out from the building. 

she wasn't alone. She was walking with Seto, 
another committee member. 

[ 032 ] 

Kikuchiyo felt that his body's temperature started 
rising out of control. For how many hours were 
they talking alone in the library? A river of black 

fire started running within his veins. It was 
unmistakably the dark flame of jealously but that 
didn't force an expression on his face either. 

The only thing he felt in his face was that his lips 
stiffened as if he was swallowing a heavy metallic 

He wasn't going to announce himself being there 
but he felt this guy at her side betrayed his own 

Kikuchiyo kept his distance and waited until both 
of them went out the gate and turned the corner a 
block from the school. He started walking as if he 
was going somewhere close, but in reality 
he was following them. 

He wasn't wearing his usual short pants today, he 
was wearing a pair of comfy jeans and a blue 
checked short-sleeved shirt. Curiously he was also 
carrying two carton boxes in his arms and dry 
noises were corning out from the carton boxes. 

The street around the corner led to a path along the 

beach and a little further, the pine trees followed. 
The street was full of pine trees but you still could 
see the sea between the sparse branches of the 

He was walking down the street looking at the 
gorgeous scenery of the sea on his left. 

The scent of pine trees and salty sea breeze tickled 
his nose. He could see a few people fishing on the 
pier. Nobody was swimming at this hour but there 
was an old gentleman walking his dog and some 
couples sitting down or walking and holding hands 
while looking at the sea. 

The reflection of the afterglow from the sunset was 
painting the waves, changing them with different 
colors. One could believe that the waves were 
reflecting every color around them, the green of the 
pine trees, the blue, dark blue and orange of the 
sky, the white of the sand, the color of the houses, 
the t-shirt of the little kid running along the beach, 
the ships at sea, a very nostalgic palette of summer. 

[ 033 ] 

All these colors dissolved inside the waves and 
combined with the tide to be ultimately washed out 
to the open sea. Many students frequented this 
particular street when school was in session, so it 
would not arise any suspicions if the couple were 
to spot him, so he kept walking naturally. 

Suddenly, a tall man passed Kikuchiyo from 
behind. He was wearing a sweatshirt, he was 
jogging but his pace was fast and frenetic. He 
quickly passed Noriko and Seto that were walking 
about 65 feet from Kikuchiyo. The man captured 
his attention because he was running barefoot and 
you could see his feet darkened by the mud. What 
kind of man would run like that? 

Someone yelled at him while he was looking at the 
running man. 


It was a raspy voice. Maybe it wasn’t for him, but 
he turned around anyway. 

He knew that guy: he was Takashi Shimamura, his 
fellow classmate. He was standing along three 
other guys. He noticed two more classmates of his, 
Kenji Shimizu and Ryoichi Kato, that were 
enrolled in class C. He had no idea who the other 
guy was, but he was burly and taller than his 
classmates. Maybe that guy was in high school. 

"Hey Kiku...!!" Shimamura was calling him and 
getting closer. 

He was wearing white pants and a green t-shirt that 
was wide open in the front. He had dyed his hair 
bright blond while it was black before the summer 
began. He also grew a very thin beard under his 

"What the fuck are you doing here!!?" 

Shimamura lifted his shoulders a bit, he was 
menacing as usual. 

Kikuchiyo didn’t answer. 

[ 034 ] 

Looking down, Kikuchiyo kept his silence. 

"You fucker!! You were following Noriko too, 

Shimamura smirked and let his gum show. 

Without changing his stance, Kikuchiyo didn’t 
mutter a sound. 

The accusation was baseless since this was the 
direction that Kikuchiyo took everyday to return 
home. It would have taken him ten minutes walking 
and turning two more blocks to get home. 

He had taken a different street, even though he couh 

"Huh!! Say something?" he gave a small push to 
Kikuchiyo. The silence was annoying him. 

Shimamura was famous in Isogahara junior high 
school for being a notorious troublemaker and he 
seldom went to class. He had never been arrested 
but he had attacked and punched teachers many 

One time he ambushed a teacher outside school 
with his two friends because he was scolded for 
smoking in class. The three of them punched him 
hard but they never got in trouble for it. 

His friends obviously were Shimizu and Kato, 
everyone knew it was them but nobody said a 

These three were the kind of people that would 
have an explosive and overbearing attitude if 
someone scolded them or said something that they 
didn’t like. 

They would be ruthless and wouldn’t hesitate in 
punching anybody. Nobody could stop them once 
they started attacking and they would aim at your 
nose to let you bleed on purpose so everyone could 

see that they did that to you. Kikuchiyo had been 
punched by Shimamura before without reason. 

This time, he had demanded an answer and since 
he didn’t get it, Shimamura got furious and punched 
Kikuchiyo, sending him to the ground. 


There are people in this life that get picked on by 
abusive people by nature. 

Unfortunately, Kikuchiyo was one of them. He had 
a natural ability to draw violent tendencies from 
naturally oppressive and arrogant individuals just 
by being near them. This held true for people like 
Shimamura. The more Kikuchiyo got frightened by 
Shimamura, the more angry Shimamura would get 
as if a dark beast within him got poked by a stick 
after biding its time to come out and explode on 
him. However, Shimamura didn’t pick on him as 
often as before. But it wasn’t because Shimamura 
got bored or became a kinder person, but because 
he didn’t come to school as often. 

"So, why is he today on this street asking me these 

"I saw you Kiku!! You were waiting for Noriko 
outside the school. You were on the move as soon 
as she started walking away" 

" An swer me, asshole!!" 

He biffed Kikuchiyo on the shoulder, his voice was 
becoming more furious. 

"They saw me..." Kikuchiyo thought to himself but £ 

"They were watching me....they watched my every 

He started obsessing with these thoughts. 

"These four guys were observing me for a while, 

they saw everything I did." 

"You knew Noriko's day in the library was today, 
didn’t you?" 

Kato mentioned this standing behind Shimamura. 
Just like Shimamura, Kato was wearing a pair of 
baggy white pants and a dark t-shirt. 

He didn’t dye his hair like Shimamura but he was 

bulkier and more intimidating than him 

What Kato said sent a chill into Kikuchiyo's spine. 

"Does this means that they were waiting for 
Noriko too!!" 


It didn’t take long for him to figure out the sinister 
plan that these four were going to carry out. 

What a brash babe... 

Kikuchiyo remembered that Shimamura said 
something like this when Noriko ignored his 

"I'm going to make her cry and scream from 
pleasure someday". He also remember that he said 
this too. 

"That someday must be today!!” 

There wasn't that many people on the street and the 
sun had just disappeared behind the mountain. 

It was getting dark fast. There was little light away 
from the pine trees but it was dark in the forest. 

The burly guy standing behind them, suddenly 
broke his silence with a deep voice. 

"Get them..." 

Shimamura ordered Shimizu and Kato to hurry and 
get them. They started running to catch Noriko and 

Seto that were away almost 160 feet from them 

"Got you fooled but she does dirty things with that 
pretty face" 

Shimamura gave a glance to Kikuchiyo as if he 
was laughing at his naivety. 

"She's just a fucking slut, you know?" 

He said this loudly with a cynical tone of voice, 
but Kikuchiyo didn’t understand what he meant by 
it, but he felt horrified when he heard what he said 

"She takes money from middle age men and she 
lets them stick it in, the whore..." 

Shimamura was nodding as if he had the higher 
moral ground and then turned to talk to a very 
disappointed man. 

“Is that right, Mr. Kuromuna?” 

[ 037 ] 

"Yeah, that's right..." the man named Kuromuna 
nodded. He looked like a sleazy yakuza even 
though he was going in high school. 

"She looks down on us as if we were trash but 
what she does is dirtier than us" 

Shimamura grabbed Kikuchiyo's shoulder, turned 
him around and pushed him hard, 
he was very strong. 

"Walk!!" he ordered him with a strong tone. 

This road was leading them to a densely forested 
area. If they kept walking where the forest met the 
sea, there would be a secluded area that people 
never walked around there. 

I'm gonna show you her pleasure screams 
Shimamura said, smiling. 

He kept pushing Kikuchiyo's back until they 
started walking. Kato and Shimizu were walking 
towards them. Noriko was corning along between 
them but mysteriously Seto wasn’t there. 

"Where is Seto?" Shimamura asked them. 

"As soon as I told him I needed to have a private 
word with Noriko, he remembered that he had an 
important appointment and left in a hurry." Kato 
started laughing at how easy it was to snatch her. 
Kikuchiyo knew that Noriko was looking at him 
surprised but he kept looking down. He didn’t want 
to look at her. 

"Shimamura Senpai, what do you want? It’s quite 

He heard Noriko saying with a tense voice but she 

"I need you to walk over there with me. Babe, just 
for a little while" 

"If you have something to say, say it here, I won’t 
go anywhere else" Her tone was serious. 

As soon as she finished saying that, there was a 
sharp sound. 


Shimamura slapped her violently. When she fell on 
her knees, Kato and Shimizu picked her up and 
carried her holding her arms and took her to the 
pine tree forest. At the same time, Shimamura was 
pushing Kikuchiyo into that dark forest too, 
following them. 

[ 038 ] 

The ground was a combination of dirt mixed with 

sand and the terrain was so rugged that if you were 
to make a big hole there, you’d find even more sand 
there. It would be very hard to run away from 

"Why is Kikuchiyo Akuta-kun here with you, 
guys?” She couldn’t understand why a soft and 
polite boy would be hanging out with those 
delinquents, but he was the only one that could side 
with her and help her out. 

"Hey, idiot!! She asked you a question, answer!!" 
Shimamura screamed. 

Kikuchiyo was biting his lip softly while holding fi 

"You haven’t say a damn word since I found you, 
are you retarded!?" 

A vicious punch caught him right in the cheek and 
in the nose. He felt the flash of the impact, the 
intense heat next and pain, in turn, followed. 

Pain...and the warm liquid from the back of the 
nose to the mouth came at the same time. Kikuchiyo 

knew that metallic taste pretty well. It was blood, 
his own blood started flow in a stream between his 
nose and his tightly sealed lips, he didn’t mutter a 
sound or a groan. 

Shimamura finally paid attention at the boxes that 
Kikuchiyo were holding. 

"Show me what do you have in the boxes!!" 

He tried to take those boxes from his hands 

[ 039 ] 

Kikuchiyo wasn’t letting go. 

"Let it go, fool!!" 

He was punched in the stomach this time. His 
skinny body bent like a broken dogleg but he still 
was holding the boxes in his hands for dear life. 
"This is bullshit, gimme that!!" 

Kuromuna took Kikuchiyo’s skinny right arm with 
his thick fingers and quickly started twisting it. 

He must have felt intense pain but he held the box 
with all his might for a while but the box 
eventually started breaking because he was holding 
it so hard. There was a small scratching noise from 
inside the box that was echoing inside the thick 

"Mr. Kuromuna is pretty pissed off because 
someone killed his dog recently, so, for your own 
good, Kiku, let it go" When Shimamura said that, 
Kikuchiyo finally let his right hand go. 

When Kuromuna grabbed and opened the box to 
see what the kid was defending so vehemently, 

He could see the contents with the natural light of r 
There were so many little things wiggling around 
the carton box:praying mantis, grasshoppers, 
dragon flies, and lady bugs that had no head or 
legs. Hundreds of them rubbed against each other 
or against the paper to make more noise. 

“What the fuck is this!?” Kuromuna tossed the box 

After it landed, he went and kicked it and stepped 
on it over and over again. 

Shimamura opened the second carton box and 
found the legs, heads, wings and antennae of the 
bugs from the other box. Disgusted, he tossed the 
box onto the ground. 

"Are you crazy!!?" 

Kikuchiyo didn’t make a sound or an expression, he 
kept looking at the ground. 

[ 040 ] 

It seemed that something eerie slowly came out 
from Kikuchiyo's body. It was inexplicable but 
something very alike to miasma was engulfing 

Noriko, that was seized by Kato and Shimizu at the 
moment none of them couldn’t see the contents of 
the boxes. 

"Hey! What was it!? What was inside the boxes?" 
both of them were asking. 

“Dead bugs. He ripped their legs off and put them ii 

"You creepy fucker!!" He punched Kikuchiyo 
repeatedly until he fell on the floor. 

Right at that moment, there were sounds of running 
steps in the forest coming close from where they 

"Help me!! Please Help!!" Noriko screamed at the 
top of her lungs. 

The sound of steps running stopped and instead, the 
sound of someone approaching them started to feel 
closer. The voice of a man could be heard from a 
short distance. 

"Is there something the matter, miss?" 

"Heeereeee!! P1eeeem...hmrmn, hmmm" Shimamura 
struggled to keep her quiet covering her mouth. He 
hadn’t expected her be so talented at screaming and 
nobody really knew she could be that loud. 

The sound of the man approaching got frantic and 
finally his figure appeared. 

It was him...."77?e impressive tall man wearing the 
"You lot!! What do you think you're doing!!?" 

He thundered out with a strong voice, a voice so str 


"Just keep walking along, old man. This is none of 
your business" Shimamura tried to sound 


"Tall words for such a stuck-up brat" 

"Did you just call me a brat, asshole!!? 

"Youheard me..." 

"You have no fucking clue who you’re messing 
with, huh!? You’re gonna regret it" 

Shimamura took something out of his pocket that 
made a metal clicking sound and a blade popped 
out of it. He was holding a knife. 

The man kept looking at him, unimpressed at the 

"Kid, you’re going to get hurt if you play with 
pointy things in the darkness." 

The man said in a relaxed tone of voice. To be 
honest, he didn’t feel the least intimidated by all 

these kids surrounding him. 

Shimamura's face turned red and his temper was 

"You really want to push your luck here, don't 

Trying to show that he was being serious, he 
started juggling with the knife, moving it from right 
to left but it had the opposite effect on the man. 

''Hmm, hmm, come on, kid. " 

The man looked slightly amused. 

Shimamura hesitated. Used to the situation in 
which he’d take advantage of people's fears once 
he took the knife out, this was the first time when 
the target was actually laughing at him Worse still, 
he had never been in a serious knife fight before, 
he had no idea how this would play out but his 
anger took the best of him. 

The man remained calm Consumed by rage, 

Shimamura decided to dash and stab him Handling 
the knife in his right hand, he made a rush move 
towards the man in the sweatshirt, launching a 
quick stab. 

The man swiftly stepped back with his left foot, 
leaning back his upper body, he avoided the stab, 
making Shimamura’s body wobble. 


The man lifted his left leg like a vaulting bamboo 
pole that sprung too fast. Catching Shimamura's 
wrist with his toe, the knife flew towards the pine 
trees and fell on the sand, hardly making a sound. 

"So, you play Karate, Huh!?" 

Shimamura tried to sound cool, hiding the fact that 
his wrist hurt like hell. He was holding it with his 
other hand. 

"Sure, every once in a while" the man said with a 
grin. He wasn't agitated at all, in fact, he didn’t 
even considered it a serious training match, much 
less a dangerous situation. 

In contrast, the group of kids were totally 
intimidated by him. Had they started some trouble, 
they knew that they were in for a painful 

"Shit, let's go" Kuromuna said with a frustrated 
voice and spat on the sand. 

Giving a piercing look at the man, Kikuchiyo and 
Noriko, he clucked and started walking away. 

"Mr. Kuromuna!! Wait!!" Shimamura yelled and 
started running after him, Kato and Shimizu quickly 

Kikuchiyo couldn’t believe his eyes. He kept 
looking at the man with a stunned face. That move 
kept playing in his mind over and over again. It 
was beautiful, it was unreal. The powerful and 

swift movement was not something he’d forget for 
a long time. 

He wanted to say something, but his mouth 
betrayed him Only opening it half way, he just 
breathed without saying anything. 

In turn, the man gave a big smile to both of them 

"I’ll see you around, friends." said the man with a 
soft voice. 


"Thank you very much, sir..." 

Noriko said to the man, but when she finished the 
sentence, the man was gone. 

He left as fast as when he came to help them. 


-ACT 5 

The room was ample and had a wooden floor from 
end to end. Actually, it was as big as a house but it 
was a single room. All covered with a wooden 
floor, it was a very spacious room. 

This wasn’t a regular room either, instead of a roof, 
it had an open glass ceiling. Instead of aluminum 
windows, it had glass windows framed in the 
wooden walls. Brass locks were built on the 
windows to be open and closed from the inside. 
This was a very old building, but it was sturdy. 

In the main wall, it had an ink brushed sign that saic 
The construction used good and sturdy wood 
materials to make it withstand the effects of 

weather and time. If you were to visit, you would 
think it was a humble community hall. 

Every morning, the sun landed its strongest shine 
on this wooden floor. Cherry blossom petals 
carried by the wind would be scattered around it. 
The beautiful patch of light would be reflected in 
the slope. 

That morning, every window in the room was 
open. A good looking man in his mid twenties was 
standing there in his Karate uniform in the center of 
the wooden floor. 

At first, he was standing, but slowly, he knelt down 
At a glance, it seemed that it was a kind of rehearse 


But this wasn’t a dance, it was far more deadly 
than that... 

He was practicing a rare form of "Ch’in Tai-chi" 
This was the Rokka style. 

One of the most ancient styles of Ch’in Tai-chi that 
exist today, compared with practicing the 
aggressive styles of Karate, he was required to 
kneel even lower and slow down his movements to 
achieve the perfect form of the move. To the 
uninitiated, this would send jolts of pain to his 
muscles, but his performance was sharp and 
focused. With a single finger he could cut the 
darkness with a string of light. 

Suddenly, the man movements became as fast as a fl 

Taijiquan, Tai-chi for short, is a form of Chinese 
martial arts that was born and developed in 
Chinkako, a rural area of the Henan province 
around the 18th century. 

Ch’in style had spread around the world and is 
very popular in Japan as a healthy way to maintain 
your muscle strength, stamina and overall fitness 

even when reaching your senior years. 

Tai-chi could be seen as just an exercise that 
emulates Kung-fu in a non violent way depending 
on the style. The one that we were observing was 
the recently introduced "Yoh Version" derived 
from the original "Ch’in style" that aims to defeat 
an opponent quickly and aggressively in hand-to- 
hand combat. 

The man beautifully slowed the pace of his electric 
assaults and softly, as if ending a musical piece, 
dissolved the melody into the air and gave a 
solemn ending to his training performance. 

The sound of a single person applauding was heard 
in the training room. 

A grizzled man was sitting cross-legged across the 
room. Maybe in his mid thirties, about ten years 
older than the man in Karate uniform performing 
the Tai-chi routine, but nonetheless he still had a 
young look for his years. Wearing a pair of washed 
out jeans and a green peppermint T-shirt, his 

tanned face could tell us that he enjoyed the 
outdoors a lot. With a loud laugh, he started 
clapping and showing a wide smile that brighten 
the mood of the room 

"Hah! hah! hah!! That was great!!" 


"What do you think of it, did I pull it off?" The man 
in the Karate uniform asked eagerly. 

"You did great, Toshio." 

"I practiced it for an hour everyday just as you 
instructed me, master Hikoroku." 

"Once you get comfortable with the Karate drills 
and Kata, it is hard to master the basics of Chinese 

martial arts, especially when you already mastered 
and perfected Karate. You’d feel thrown out of the 
loop once you start practicing this. But it seems 
that's not the case here since you pulled it off 

Hikoroku's tone was friendly and reassuring, being 
the caliber of fighter that he was. He was a man 
that you should pay attention to when he spoke 
about fighting. 

Yes, His name was Hikoroku Hashiba, sharing a 
few words of knowledge to his good friend and 
pupil Toshio Narumi. 

"Now you tell me, Toshio, what was your 
impression of it?" 

"I have to recognize that the flow is very similar to 
advanced Karate but this thing works muscles that I 
didn’t have to use before." 

Hmm, right...but...maybe you noticed something 

else?" Hikoroku hinted as if he was looking for a 
different response. 

"Well, if I think of it in a way..." Narumi hesitated 
for a second. 

"You can say it, it's okay, It seems that you are 
holding back some words there." 

"But...well...It seems..." 

"Hey, don’t worry Toshio, Nobody else besides 
you and me can pull off the complete form of this 
ancient style so, you are not going to fight it or 
defend against it anytime soon." 

"I see..." 

"So, Tell me..." 

"It’s designed to kill people." Narumi responded 
with resolution. 

What? To kill people? 

"What I mean is that the Yoh-Rokka version of 
Ch’in Tai-chi was created specifically to lay waste 
to your opponent in a fight. He's not going to walk 
out alive after first contact." 

"Of course, what else did you think Tai-chi was 
created for?" 

"I just realized that. I thought Tai-chi was for..." 
Narumi realized how naive he was and stopped 

"A gentle exercise to maintain health and fitness 
until old age and not to be used in actual combat. 
That's what you thought of it, correct?" 

[ 047 ] 

'Well, yeah... 

"I'm not too happy with the idea of teaching housew 

"Many people that practice traditional Chinese mar 

"I have to say only half of that is actually true." 

"In fact, some people think is not appropriate to 
promote the practice of Tai-chi in Japan." Narumi 
remembered a few comments he heard a while ago. 

"That’s understandable, due to the cultural 
difference here." 

"That correct..." 

"Basically, Karate and Tai-chi are the same. Both 
were basic Martial art styles developed in 
different countries with the same goal in mind. In a 
broad sense, we can say that Karate is part of the 

Chinese branch of martial arts styles that was 
simply developed abroad, but keeping its roots and 
spirit of its original birthplace. Since the goal is 
the same, you should explore both and find what 
fits you best." 

"I was thinking the same..." 

"The way I see it, Karate is the style that fits you 
the best." 

"Yes, that's what I thought..." 

"Grab as much as you can from Tai-chi and bring it 
back to your Karate. In the end, because of all the 
different personalities, character and physical 
abilities, people end up making their own style 
when true fighting is required." 

"Master Hikoroku, what kind of style do you 

"Uggh, That’s a hard question for me. You see, I 
have my own style but I haven’t really mastered 
anything yet. Because of my curious personality, I 
pick things from here and there around the world. 
You could say I'm "a womanizer of martial arts" I 
love all and everything that has to do with true 

"Hahaha, you don't need to master anything, 
everything you do comes out perfect, you are a 

"You think so? I’m not so sure about that..." 
Hikoroku scratched his head, flustered a bit for that 
remark. It made him feel a little weird. 

"Would you have a friendly match with me, Master 
Hikoroku?" Narumi said, excited. 

"Really? With you?" 

"Yes, I want to experience how "true fighting" feels 

with you, I always wanted to do that. 

"How it feels with me...?" 

"Yes sir..." 

"Be aware, Toshio, that I won't be holding anything 
back, friendly match or not." 

Hikoroku said with a more serious tone in his 
voice, Implying that this might be, indeed, 
a real fighting match. 


"I don’t mind at all" Narumi nodded nervously. 

"Not holding back" In Hikoroku's perspective 
didn’t mean he was going for lethal contact but 
rather that he was going to use full contact punches 
and kicks on his opponent’s body, twists and grabs 
that might cause intense pain and perhaps a few 
sprains or broken bones. Usually, Karate sparring 

uses the rule of "sundome" or stopping before the 
strike hits its intended target. 

Karate fighters usually do not like the "sundome ru 
But nonetheless, to effectively train in Karate ever 

"The Burinkan school" style of Karate where 
Toshio Narumi belongs to, it is known for having 
radical rules and it's an unusual branch in the 
Karate scene of Japan. It uses the full contact style 
but they also allow strikes to the face, with 
particular focus on how to deal with such attacks. 
Narumi is used to dealing with this kind of 

"Aren't you going to get in trouble with the branch 
chief for fighting with a person that practices a 
different style? Hikoroku said with a smirk on his 

"Well, he's not going to know about it if you don’t 
tell him, right? He's your friend after all." 

"That’s true, but still..." Hikoroku's smile turned 
somewhat bitter. 

It would come as a surprise to you, as seeing him 
sitting down didn't give it away, that once he stood 
up, you could see he was impressively tall and a 
bit skinny. His T-shirt was sort of baggy near his 
stomach but not because he wasn't fat enough or 
because he was really skinny, but because his 
musculature was tightly built underneath it. 

His neck was pretty thick if you took a good look 
in front of him. 


"Aren't you going to change?" Narumi asked. 

The T-shirt was loose enough, but his tight jeans 
would limit his movements considerably when 
launching kicks as it is hard to raise your legs that 

"I've got a few extra uniforms in the back if you 
feel like using them" Narumi offered Hikoroku. 

"Naah, it's okay, I'm fine like this." 

Hikoroku's face suddenly turned from relaxed to 
serious, standing with his legs slightly apart from 
each other. He let his arms fall side to side in a 
relaxed way, it was an unorthodox stance but you 
couldn’t tell what he could do next. He was 
barefoot too. 

The change in Hikoroku's attitude puzzled Narumi 
for a bit and he also started getting ready to face 

"Well, we can start the fight now, I guess?" Narumi 

"It has already started..." Hikoroku said in a low 

Their eyes started glowing with an intense light. 
Narumi started moving around, showing his 
footwork. But this wasn't Karate, it was more of 

the footwork he uses when he's boxing. His fists 
were slightly opened, raising his right fist in the 
upper position while placing his left fist in the 
lower position. Narumi kept the rhythm of his feet 
with his elbows and started circling Hikoroku 
looking for an opening for his initial attack. 

But Hikoroku's stance didn’t give anything away. 
He was simply looking at Narumi moving, without 
showing any particular fighting stance. When 
Narumi moved behind Hikoroku, he got closer to 
him, but in a flash, Hikoroku’s body was facing 

"Heyyaah!!" Narumi screamed while getting 
closer, but he didn’t launch any attacks. 

Knowing that Hikoroku didn’t fall for the bluff, he 
promptly backed olf. 

That's when Hikoroku dashed towards Narumi 
with twice the speed that Narumi was retreating. 

[ 050 ] 


It was a move that was impossible to predict. 
Their distance got even closer with the dash. 
Trying to stop Hikoroku's dash, Narumi launched a 
strong high kick with his right leg that came from 
behind his back. It was an intense flash as if a 
sharp sword sliced the air around. 

But his toes only kicked air. 

Hikoroku had already lowered his body quite 
swiftly. Narumi after kicking, quickly got back to 
his original position. In that brief moment, 
Hikoroku sprung and lifted his body closer to 

Feeling a chill like a thunder through his spine, 
Narumi launched two elbow attacks consecutively 
left and right, He was sure that he was going to 
land at least one attack on Hikoroku’s face, but 
neither of these elbows landed. As if trying to hit a 
ghost, both elbows cut the air in front of him but 
Hikoroku’s face was still dangerously close to his 

own. That's when he smiled to Narumi, incredibly 

But It wasn't the smile that rocked him, Narumi's 
body flew across the hall when Hikoroku caught 
him right square in his chest with some sort of 
attack that he missed completely. 

"Brrwang" A loud sound. He landed over some 
training gear and was unable to move or even 

It was as if someone had taken all the air from his 
lungs by force and refused to give him more. 
Desperately gasping for air while still on his back, 
he saw Hikoroku getting close to him slowly. 

"W-what was that...?" 

" friend.... is the Hakkesho ." 

Th-the Hakkesho? 

"I told you about it the other time, it came from one 
of the ancient styles from the Chinese martial arts 
branch. It has been mostly unknown and almost 

"I...I couldn’t even touch you...." Narumi was still 
having a hard time breathing. 

"By the way, I didn’t know we had some audience 
for this deathmatch." 

"W-what!?" Gasping for some air, Narumi couldn’t 

"That kid looking at us from the window..." 

Hikoroku pointed back at one of the windows with 
his thumb. 

Is that a friend of yours..? 

[ 052 ] 

"M-my friend you say?" Narumi moved a little bit 
to look at the window to see who was there. 

A thin boy was looking at Hikoroku and Narumi 
with a perplexed look on his face. 

When Narumi made eye contact with him. He 
looked to the ground immediately. 

It was that kid from the other day. 

He helped him the other day when some thugs 
attacked him and the girl that he was with. 

It was Kikuchiyo Akuta. 

[ 053 ] 

ACT 6 

Kikuchiyo was silent when he entered the training 
hall. Taking off his shoes respectfully, he walked in 
barefooted. As soon as he was in, he just looked at 
the floor. 

"Why did you follow me? Do you need some 
help?" Narumi asked a little surprised. 

Kikuchiyo simply nodded in response. 

Toshio Narumi noticed him as soon as he started 
his jogging routine the day after he saved the boy 
and that girl in the woods. Right at the pine tree 
road, he was running and the kid was standing on 
the left by the ocean side and looking at the people 
passing as if he was looking for somebody in 
particular. Once he made casual eye contact, the 
kid looked down embarrassed a bit, but Narumi 
recognized him. 

"Hey, what's up?" Narumi said in a friendly tone to 
the kid, but he was just quiet. 

He remembered that this was the boy he saved. 
Even though he was silent, after he passed him, he 
felt that he was staring after him for a long time. 
There was no doubt in Narumi's mind that this boy 
was waiting for him. 

[ 054 ] 

He didn’t find the boy while jogging on his way 
back. Next day though, the boy would be there 
and the day after. Every time Narumi tried to say 
"hi" to him, the boy would look down quietly. 
Today, he appeared here in the training hall, It 
came to Narumi's mind that after jogging, he would 
come to the training hall a few times to spar with 
some friends and help them on their techniques. 
Was he being followed by this kid time after time? 
It seemed that that was this case. 

But how did he figure that he would be early in the 
morning today practicing with Hikoroku? 

Narumi usually comes here before going to work. 
His daily routine starts at 6:30 am, he practices 
until 8:00 and leaves for work. His shift starts at 
around 9 o'clock. Usually nobody is here at this 
time but the Master allowed him to come and gave 
him a spare key. 

Toshio Narumi started Karate way back when he 
was in high school. He must've been coming to this 
place for more than a decade. Earning the branch 
owner's trust, he has no problem coming and going 
from the hall at any time he wishes. Students and 
martial artists usually arrive at about 12:00 pm for 
instruction. In special cases, people would come 
here at about 9:00 am at the earliest. A senior lady 
that manages the hall. Otake-san, comes at 8:30 
am to open the hall, but Narumi would be gone by 
then. He always makes sure the Hall is locked, 
even though, there's hardly anything of value that 
could be stolen from here. 

"Who told you that I would be here this early in the 

Narumi asked a bit concerned. The boy didn’t say 
anything. Constantly looking at the wooden floor, 
without realizing that Narumi was staring at him 
and frowning a little bit. 

The soft sound of a cicada filled the silence of the 
hall, probably wafting in the wind. 

[ 055 ] 

During the last five minutes, that was the only thing 
you could hear in the room. 

Hikoroku Hashiba was looking at them with his 
arms crossed, slightly amused by this weird 
interaction between them. "He's not going to bite 
you, even if you ask him for a date." He smiled. 
Because both men were laughing, Kikuchiyo 
relaxed a little bit and uttered some words, almost 

An old lady told me..." as if he was talking to the 


"An old lady? I think he means Otake-san" Narum 

"Anyway, can you tell me why are you here?” 

Once again the boy got silent and Narumi felt that 
the conversation was going nowhere with these 
questions, so before waiting for another moment of 
silence, he asked: 

"Do you want to learn Karate, don’t you?" 

The expression of the boy got excited and he 
nodded his head quickly. 

"If you come in the afternoon, you can register for 
the main instruction. There will be plenty of 
friendly people that can help you, don't worry." 

The boy frowned and shook his head. That wasn't 
what he wanted. 

"Don't you want to join the Karate Dojo?" 

The boy shook his head. 

"I thought you wanted to learn Karate, right?" The 
boy nodded. 

"Well, why won't you join then?" The boy shook 
his head. 

"Toshio, hear me out" Hikoroku spoke from behind 
the boy, as if a shadow of a mountain suddenly had 
appeared behind Kikuchiyo. 

"I think the boy wants to learn your Karate style 
directly from you" Uncrossing his arms, Hikoroku's 
tone of voice got serious. Maybe the boy saw that 
Tai-chi technique, heard all that stuff about how 
dangerous it was and wanted to snatch it for 
himself too. 

"Is that what you want?" Narumi asked kindly. 

The boy's attitude brighten up and he started 

nodding intensely. 

He looked at him and thought that this kid was like 
one of those strange child actors that are a little 
odd at first, but completely dedicated to their 
beloved craft once you get them on stage. 
Kikuchiyo was shaking but he was definitively 
committed in learning the particular style that 
Narumi forged for himself. That wasn't an easy 
task, Narumi remembered.... 

[ 056 ] 

Yes, he remembered those old days. He was about t 
Abusive kids were always around messing with 
people, but he didn’t want to be taken for a fool. 

He wanted to have the power to punch them really 1 

He dedicated himself to improving his skills and lo 
But also saved his life and gave him the direction 
and discipline necessary to succeed. 

"You want to be strong too, right?" said Naruini. 

Kikuchiyo's body was quivering while he was still 
looking down. He was making tight fists and his 
face had some water drops running down from it. 
Narumi knew how the boy felt, he had experienced 
it first hand too. Been there, done that, Karate was 

"Sure, if that's what you want, I will teach you my 
Karate style" Narumi asserted. He was 
Kikuchiyo's age back then and he also found 
somebody strong that wanted to emulate, this was 
his turn in life. 

"Alright..." Kikuchiyo said with a resilient voice. 

"Alright!!" Like an echo bouncing inside his mind, 
heart and soul, he kept repeating inside of him. 



[ 057 ] 

-ACT 7 

Toshio Narumi started training the young 
Kikuchiyo Akuta in the fighting arts of Karate. 
They’d always start very early in the mornings. 
They made an agreement before starting. 

"I will train you only if you show up in the hall 
while I’m here. When you don’t, then I won’t 

With that condition, Narumi would train Kikuchiyo 
in the special Karate that he forged for himself. 
Everyday. No matter how early Narumi show up in 
the hall, Kikuchiyo would be always there waiting 
for him anxious for morning practice. 

The first thing Narumi did was to measure 
Kikuchiyo’s physical fitness. 

[ 058 ] 

He didn’t resort to any machines or systems to do 
so. He would simply observe how many squats 
Kikuchiyo could perform. How flexible he was or 
how much he could run around the block without 
getting exhausted. Before starting the lessons, he 
wanted to see his natural potential. 

Unfortunately, compared to kids his age, he was 
way below the average mark. 

Doing squats— By standing and crouching 
constantly, you push your body to a movement that 
is unnatural. It's certainly harder to do than it 
looks, but still the boy did them poorly. 
Definitively this wasn't a good start, his flexibility 
was mediocre for a boy his age. 

Then, it came the time to test his resistance, he 
sprinted for a short distance but he ran quite slow 
and he was instantly out of breath. To build up 
some resistance, he and Narumi would go jogging 
for a distance close to a decent marathon run. 
Kikuchiyo started poking his chin forward and 
started lagging behind. 

But not all of his characteristics were lackluster, 
there were a few traits that Narumi noticed about 
this boy that made him quite unusual, there were 
two most noticeable ones that he started observing. 

"Don't push yourself so hard!! You're overdoing 

He would often call Kikuchiyo about his push up 
sets. He suggested a "soft level" 3 sets of 8 push 
ups to begin, but while he was doing something 
else, Kikuchiyo had done 127 push ups in a single 

Narumi figured that, because of his skinny arms, 

the soft level may leave him exhausted. He was 
expecting that Kikuchiyo would give up after 10 or 
so, but never expected those skinny arms to do 
more than ten times what it was expected of him. 
The kid looked fine and in good spirits after that. 
The average athlete's arms would have been gone 
after a stunt like that. There are experts at push ups 
that can pull off 300, 500 and even 3000 in a single 
hour. These are remarkable athletes with years of 
constant training and dedication. A kid from the 
street with hardly any training pulling this number 
was not normal!! 

But the explanation for this was quickly caught by 
Narumi’s keen observation. 

Kikuchiyo's right arm was strangely strong. Almost 
three times stronger than the left. He made him do 
push ups with only one arm until he felt he couldn’t 
go anymore. Kikuchiyo did 37 push ups with the 
right arm but when it was time to use his left arm, 
he did only one and he was done. 


Kikuchiyo noticed how impressed Narumi was 
with his push ups that he started focusing in 
working even more on them and he felt good. To 
the point that he was doing them all the time. It was 
hard for him to do two or three with the left, but if 
the motivation was there, He could do 100 or 
maybe 200 with his right on a good day, and almost 
twice the amount of regular push ups when in 
reality, it was the right arm doing most of the work. 

The second thing that Narumi noticed that startled 
him a bit was his freak endurance during a 
marathon. He would get tired really fast when he 
ran with Narumi around the city, but when he ran 
by himself in the hall, he showed his unbelievable 

One time Narumi ordered him to run around the 
training hall without stopping or taking a break to 
measure how long he would keep at it. He told him 

just to run at his own pace. When one can run at 
one's leisure, It is imperative not only to have a 
good physical condition but also a strong mentality. 
It is known that morale will fade faster than 
physical strength. 

That morning, Kikuchiyo ran from 6:30 am to 8:00 
am, looking down all the time. Narumi felt tempted 
to call in from work and ask permission in the 
Dojo to see how much more he would endure. 

The psychological resilience of Kikuchiyo Akuta 
was simply unbelievable. In a battle against 
himself or his tolerance against pain made Narumi 
feel even a little uneasy. If he were to tell him "do 
squats, run around and punch the bag until I come 
back" and didn’t return, he would stay there doing 
that until the next morning. 

"He's that kind of person." Narumi thought to him: 

As he was discovering Kikuchiyo's unusual talents, 

"He saw it once, what if he gets obsessed with 

"We’re sending them home with dangerous knowled 

[ 060 ] 

-ACT 8 

Kikuchiyo Akuta, The frail and silly kid as we 
know him, was about to be reborn into a lethal 
human weapon. 

Practicing Karate was fun for him. He loved it 
dearly, dedicating all his time, energy and money 
to it. He started seeing the positive results that his 
hard work brought in his own body. 

That only fueled the intensity of his practice and 
the harder he pushed himself, the better the results 
were. He was truly happy for having Karate as an 

integral part of his life. 

His resistance to running got much better from the 
beginning and he felt proud running toe to toe with 
his master. He’d never tried to pass him, just 
running at his pace relaxed him. 

Also his push ups increased. After a month, he 
could do 300 push ups with both arms, a hundred 
in 4 sets with his left only but a single set of 300 
with only his right arm. 


He was glad to have found something exciting and 
rewarding to do while he was alone. Rather than 
just doing Karate for practice's sake, he was glad 
to be left alone with his Karate. 

He finally had a reason to cherish his loneliness. 

Karate provided constant excitement but once he 

started reaching the next level, he felt hungrier for 
more power and knowledge and practiced more 

Religiously, he would learn Karate from Narumi in 
the morning. After he’d leave for work, he would 
practice by himself. Repeating the drills and 
methods hundred of times, the ones that Narumi 
taught him and a few others that he researched 

To enhance his character and psychological resilier 

The only actual fighting techniques Narumi taught 
Kikuchiyo were a few practical kicks, some jabs 
and the basic karate stances. Narumi emphasized 
that he needed to obtain more power, make his 
body more flexible and master the basics as 
second nature to be able to continue to the more 
advanced techniques. 

He also mentioned that Kikuchiyo didn’t need to 
perform Kata or engage in "Kumite" for the time 

being, there would be plenty of time for that later. 

Kikuchiyo wasn’t in a rush for anything, he didn’t 
seem annoyed by the repetitive drills and exercises 
that seemed to continue endlessly. Sometimes, he 
would practice the same kick for six hours until the 
blisters on the sole of his feet would gradually 
break off and were bleeding. 

[ 062 ] 

He made a post with some wood and straws and 
started striking it for half a day. The skin in his 
knuckles cracked and his blood colored the post 
red almost immediately. 

Narumi got infuriated at Kikuchiyo for such a 
reckless move. Once he saw his injured knuckles 
he berated him for not knowing when to stop. That 
was nothing to be proud about. 

By the evening, Kikuchiyo started jogging the same 

trail that Toshio Narumi used to run with him, 
the road with the pine trees with the breeze of the 
sea on the left. These days though, Narumi wasn’t 
jogging. He was training in Burinkan for the 
national Karate tournament that was about to 
happen in the fall. Kikuchiyo had not talked to 
Noriko Izawa since the library incident of that day, 
many months ago. 

When they did come across in school, they would 
exchange a small greeting and that was it. 

Greeting and slightly smiling was a great 
achievement for Kikuchiyo since he wasn’t a 
person that was used to talking to girls or women 
without feeling weird about it. This time it was 
different. There was a confidence in him and a 
look that sent a message. Noriko didn’t bring up 
any conversation about the experience of that day 
but she started looking at him in a different way. 

It wasn't favorable at all though, but she didn’t hate 
him or wanted to ignore him either. He was just a 

weird guy that was different from the other men at 
school, That was her simple perspective about 

She still remembered him carrying a box with 
legless creatures with him. How weird can you be 
to be doing stuff like that? Gross. 

But it was one of the handful of times he saw her 
after the incident. He saw her once walking 
towards school on summer break and a few other 
times while he was jogging before his evening 
Karate session. 

It was around this time when Kikuchiyo's mother, 
Saeko, disappeared from his life. 

It was the last day of school before vacation time 
in Isogahara junior high school. 

When he returned home from school, the house was 
strangely clean and straighten out. 


It definitely appeared that it was someone else’s 

house. He called his mother's name as usual, even 
though he knew that she wasn’t around. The weird 
silence that followed answered his call. 

He checked her closet, but none of her clothes 
were there. All her things were gone. 

Finally, a thought crossed his mind. 

"We are all alone!!" she screamed that night.... 

"I won't befooled!!" Her face looked ghastly that ti 

He pictured her shattering the jaw of the dog's 
corpse. Her voice sounding terrifying and 

that night. A beautiful woman like her, doing things 
like that. 

He entered his room, so clean and neat, when was 
the last time he was here? 

Between all his things, there was his bank account 
book and a seal with it. 

The account name was his name and the amount 

that was there was around 300.000 yen. 

There wasn’t a single message, letter or note telling 
him of her whereabouts. 

Just the amount she left for him and her missing 
things was clear enough to realize that she left and 
she wasn't going to return. They were not going to 
see each other again. 

But there was no indication that she left today. 

If she left, it was the day that he got attacked by the 
dog, she was drunk and cut the dog’s neck and 
shattered his skull screaming that all of us are 
alone in the world and have to fend for ourselves. 
She never left any messages before, why would it 
be different this time? 

But it was...She kept saying that if Kikuchiyo 
someday would leave but she’ll follow him, 
the day finally arrived. 

[ 064 ] 

But she was the one that left that day, and 
Kikuchiyo wasn’t going to follow her, why for? 

She hugged him, cried and promised things but in 
the end. she forged her own path that freed her 
from her problems, just like when he found Karate 
and a better life because of it. 

He felt that a woman has the right to choose to live 
the way she wants. Her problems weren’t his 
concern. He felt that the woman that left wasn't his 
mother at all, just some passerby that offered some 
help before leaving as many people do. 

"Surviving alone....Living alone...." 

That concept rolled into his heart like a little stone 
rolls down from a mountain. 

[ 065 ] 

ACT 9 

Kikuchiyo went out jogging that very evening. The 
weather was pleasant and without school for the 
next few months, he could dedicate more time to 
practicing Karate. The idea made him happy and 
what better time to kick off the school break than 
right away. 

He trailed the same route that he and Narumi had 
used every day. He was simply enjoying his inner 
peace and his running pace was relaxed. The view 
of the sea behind the pine trees was beautiful. 

He ran to feel the ground under his shoes. He ran e\ 

The wind was mixing the scent of the pine trees 
with the smell of the sea, creating a delicate 

He was jogging at his usual time but winter made 
the days shorter and the moon and stars would be 
up there sooner than usual, the place was becoming 

darker quite fast. 

Running through a curved slope for a mile or so, a 
shadow popped in front of him. 

"Hey, you!!" 

It was Shimamura. The moment he stopped, he felt 
two people sneaking behind him. 

"You're not going to escape today, bitch." Kato 

Fearing the worst, he turned around quickly, just to 
be ambushed by Shimamura. 

He caught him from one arm 

[ 066 ] 

He had wondered were they had been. Shimamura 
and Kato hadn’t showed up at school ever since the 
attack. While recovering from the surprise, he 

heard Shimamura say. 

"I know you always run here with your friend, but 
he's busy lately ain’t he?" 

Shimamura pulled his arm and Kato grabbed the 

"Come on, bro, we got something cool to show 

Both of them were wearing their familiar gangster 
clothing and had dirty smiles on their faces. 

Their trap was working great. They dragged 

with them. He tried to fight back a bit but he wasn't 
putting too much resistance and they didn’t let him 
go. They were laughing and dragged him towards 
an isolated area behind the pine tree forest. 

Once they arrived to an area that was far from the 
main roads, Kikuchiyo noticed three shadows in 

the dark. It was Shimizu, the High school student 
Kuromuna and...Noriko Izawa!! 


Kikuchiyo wanted to say something but his lips 
were shaking. 

The school blouse and skirt that Noriko was 
wearing were torn. Her hips and breasts were 
dimly visible in the dark. She was making mu filed 
sounds with teary eyes because her panties and bra 
were jammed into her mouth and her mouth was 
tied with a rope so tight that the pressure was 
squeezing hard the edges of her mouth. 

It was Kuromuna the one restraining her from the 
back. He put his left hand over her shoulder, under 
a piece of cloth that used to be her blouse. 
Grabbing her left breast, He started squeezing it 

[ 067 ] 

He was clawing it so hard that the breast was 
changing its shape it was painful. 

"You were the fucker that killed my dog, ain't cha? 
Kuromuna said suddenly. 

Kikuchiyo was silent but he didn’t look down. 

"Don't ever bother denying it or saying anything 
because I know the truth." 

He said it impatiently as he was about to lick his 

"I got a pal that goes to Burinkan. He told me a few 
days ago that he saw the kid that killed my dog 
attending Burinkan early in the morning. That same 
kid with a crazy old bitch went to the park and 
dumped something that looked suspicious. He was 
drunk that time and he threw up all night because of 
what he saw. He's the same one that told me that 
my dog was dead." 

"He told me that the kid secretly practices Karate 
every morning there." 

That was when Kuromuna gave a menacing look at 

"So you practice Karate when nobody sees you, 

He pressed her breast harder, her eyes closed even 
tighter, whimpering in pain. 

Kikuchiyo was looking at her face without glancing 
down. She had a really delicate and beautiful face. 
Noriko's looks without bra or underwear gave a 
jolt of excitement to Kikuchiyo. It was blowing his 
brains away. Under his training pants, he felt his 
beastly thing was lifting up menacingly. 

"Don't get distracted, you fuck!! I'm talking to 
you!!" Kuromuna screamed at top of his lungs. 

The three men were laughing with wicked laughs. 

"This bitch is great. My brother that works in 
Yokohama told me she's pretty famous there." 

[ 068 ] 


Noriko's face was really pale. 

"Don’t feel bad about her, she’s used to things like 
this. She prostitutes herself in Yokohama. She gets 
a lot of money, especially from foreign black dudes 
that want to fuck a Japanese thing. She’s the best 
fuck in town I tell ya. She get so many cocks per 
night that she's running the market dry there." 



"Hey, we're in luck tonight. My brother's boss paid 
40.000 yen to ram his cock into her dirty pussy. 

You gonna watch us fuck her for free, 
brother... hahahahah " 

Kuromuna's face was covered in sweat. He was 
sweating buckets while his eyes had a sinister 
glow. He was holding a knife with his right hand 
and cut the last pieces of cloth she was wearing. 

She was fully naked now. 

The moon glow was shining over her delicate 
body. Even in winter, as in summer, her pale skin 
would shine without showing any swimsuit or 
underwear marks. So white, so pure.... 

"Take off his clothes too!!" Kuromuna ordered the 
other guys around. 

Kato grabbed him from behind, restraining his 
arms while Shimamura squatted in front of him and 
pulled down his pants quickly. 

Shimamura was surprised when a big, thick rod 

violently pointed at his face, it was his hard 
bloodshot penis. 

"DAAAAMNNN, look at this thing, he's ready to 

Shimamura stood up, spat and smirked to him. 

"So, you wanna fuck her too, huh?" He got in the 
face of Kikuchiyo. 

"Come on, say it." Shimamura was breathing on his 
face and was getting impatient. 

Kikuchiyo didn’t make a sound. This time though, 
he wasn’t looking down. He was looking straight at 
his eyes. 

" An swer me, motherfucker!!" 

And he suddenly threw a hard punch at him. 

[ 069 ] 

His cheekbones made a groaning noise. 

Next, Shimamura punched his stomach. He started 
punching his stomach repeatedly with both fists 
and then he punched his face again. 

Kikuchiyo felt a warm stream of liquid corning 
from his nose and a thick slime with a metallic 
flavor started invading his mouth. It had an insipid 

There was something hard pinching his tongue. It 
was a broken tooth. 

"Where's your Karate now, bitch!!? Come on and 
use it!!" Shimamura screamed at him. 

Kato kept shaking his body and pressing back. 
That's when Shimamura threw a punch right into 
his nose. 

"Guugh!!" Kikuchiyo made a desperate sound 
while trying to fend off his punch. 

As hard as he tried, He couldn’t free himself from 

Kato's arms that were grabbing him from behind. 
Moving his body desperately to free himself only 
to get repeatedly punched in the face, Kikuchiyo 
started feeling that he was out of options. 

Worse than that, He started feeling that he was drow 
Something dark, thick, metallic, red, sharp, slimy ai 

He wanted to purge it. He wished he could open 
his mouth and vomit it. Invading his stomach, his 
lungs, his mouth, his eyes, the back of his nose. 

This thing was going to squeeze the life out of him. 
He was violently shaking his arms and screaming 
to the sky trying to purge the thing out. 

Kato panicked a bit and let him go. 

Kikuchiyo fell over his knees onto the sand with 
his legs knotted with his underpants. He was still 
trying to move but the sand underneath him was red 
from the blood of his mouth. 

Bwleghh..." He threw up....and then.... 

'Hiwuuaaahh ggh hh" He gave a desperate scream. 

"Hahahah!! What the fuck!? Your best Karate move 
is just screaming?" Shimamura joked. 

While Kikuchiyo was coughing and trying to vomit, 
Shimamura ran and kicked him in the face. 

Kato moved to him too and started kicking his butt. 
Noriko in turn, was pushed down to the sand and 
Kuromuna mounted her over. He pulled down his 
pants and his bare butt was moving trying to find a 
position in between Noriko's legs. 


Shimizu moved towards Noriko, pushing down 
both her arms with his leg and his right arm 
He was fondling her right breast with his left hand. 
It was a pitiful scene devoid of humanity, 

mercy and common sense. Everyone seemed to be 
out of their minds. 

Looking around he saw images in front of his eyes 
passing in a flash. 

Kato's fists, Shimamura’s arms, Kuromuna's bare 
bottom, Noriko's anguished face. 

Once again, the nauseating feeling returned. His 
stomach contracted and flexed and he vomited. 

He vomited something warm and sour that flew 
towards the ground. 

He kept vomiting many times, even while being pur 

His stomach was empty, yet it didn’t come out as he 
A dark red lump of something thick was overtaking 
all his body. It didn’t come out from his body 
because it was stuck in his flesh, Blocking the air 
from entering his lungs, blocking his heart from 
pumping more blood, disabling his thoughts. 
Kikuchiyo was crying out of desperation and a 
shriek of freedom was finally heard. 

"Wuuurryyarrrhhhh" He stood up holding a heavy 
piece of rock that he felt surprisingly light, maybe 
because he was holding it with his right hand. 
Shimamura didn’t see it coming, the last thing he 
saw was Kikuchiyo standing up in front of him. 
and the lights went out. 

This was because Kikuchiyo walked to him and 
smashed his head with the rock. 

Shimamura's feet got lifted from the ground and he 
flew after a horrible fast strike that caught him with 
full force and when his limp body hit the ground, 
there was a ring of blood that started spreading out 
in the sand coming from his face. 

"AHH!!" Kato wasn’t prepared for what he had just 
witnessed, but soon was his turn. 

Kikuchiyo turned fast, trying to bash his head too, 
but grazed his forehead instead. 

Marked with a bloody cut, Kato's survival instinct 
kicked in... 

He turned around and ran away. 


Kato ran as fast as he could but Kikuchiyo caught 
him easily. Running from behind, he gave him a 
body push so hard that Kato crashed head on into a 
pine tree. Holding the pine tree, he fell 
unconscious but kept holding the tree. Kikuchiyo, 
trying to stay one step ahead of any movements 
from Kato, jumped and smacked his neck with the 
rock, two, three times. He even kicked him but 
Kato simply hugged the tree and slid down leaving 
a profuse trail of blood on the tree. His eyes were 

He hadn’t used any of the techniques he had 
learned, it had all been done with pure brute force. 

Turning around quickly, he ran towards Kuromuna 
that was still mounting Noriko. Oblivious of the 
grotesque scene and the mortal danger behind him. 

It was too late 


Fixated in targeting his head, Kikuchiyo ran 
towards him holding the rock in his hand and 

the back of Kuromuna's head so hard that it sent 
him stumbling towards Noriko. 

The force with which the heavy rock landed on him 
stumbled Kuromuna, but he was still moving while 
Noriko was giving muffled gasps with the 
underwear inside her mouth. 

Kuromuna stood up so he smashed his head again, 
and again. 

He stumbled and tried to run away but Kikuchiyo 
smashed his face again. Striking him sideways, 
striking him from the top, smashing him over and 
over. Kikuchiyo jumped over his body. 

He was still moving on the ground so Kikuchiyo 
smashed him more and thought.... 

"Smash him!!" 

"Smash him!!" 

"His Eyes are falling off' 

"Doesn’t matter, keep smashing him!! 

"Smash him!!" 

"Smash him!!" 

"His skull is opening up" 

"Don't stop, smash him, smash him more!!" 
"Smash him!!" 

"Smash him!!" 

Kuromuna finally stopped moving, Shimizu was 
nowhere to be found, he was gone from the place. 
Kikuchiyo crouched over the lifeless body and 
started wailing loudly while still holding that 
bloody rock. Noriko had lost consciousness after 
witnessing the cold blooded carnage. Kuromuna’s 

blood was slowly rolling down her chest. 

The wind was slowly blowing around the pine 
branches over Kikuchiyo's head. 

Feeling the fresh air from the sea mixed with the 
scent of the pine trees in his lungs. Hearing the 
sound of the trees. Having the far away call of the 
waves with the image of the full moon over a dark, 
starless sky. 

That's when he finally could cry wholeheartedly 
towards the sky. Trying to make sense to the 
madness that had been violently unleashed towards 
him and Noriko recently. 

It happened at this moment, at this place.... 

Loneliness finally embraced him. 


-THE END— to be continued.